Fermented Watermelon Rinds

If you try this ferment, forget everything you’ve ever know about pickled watermelon rinds.  This is not your grandma’s recipe.  It is not a sweet pickle, no gooey sugary brine.  No spices either, just a simple salt brine covering watermelon rinds.  I wanted to see how they would turn out lactofermented so the first round is plain with no added flavors.  I do have some ideas for future batches which I will post as I go.

Big surprise, they turned out awesome!  So awesome that I can’t keep the kids hands out of the jar.  Why would I want to anyway 🙂  My kids adore watermelon and we have it frequently through the summer.  I know the rinds are full of wonderful vitamins so I’ve always hated throwing them out.  Luckily they did go to my chickens who love it so it wasn’t all a loss.  Just a small one inch cube provides 2% of your DV of vitamin C and 1% of vitamin B6.  Well we can’t stop at just one 1″ cube.  And as you all should know by now if you’ve been following my blog for a while, fermentation enhances vitamins making them more bioavailable and it actually creates B vitamins.  Yippee for fermenting!


Fermented Watermelon Rinds

  • 1 watermelon
  • 2% brine (19 gms of salt per 1 quart of water)

Enlist the help of friends and family to eat the juicy red part off the watermelon.  Make sure they don’t throw the rinds away!  Collect the rinds and using a sharp knife, cut off the green skin.  I found it easiest to lay the piece of rind on it’s side on the cutting board and to cut down rather than paring it in my hands.

Cut peeled rinds into uniform pieces as well as you can.  Some will be squares, others will be triangles, most will be trapazoids or parallelograms (there is your elementary geometry lesson for the day).  You can either measure the amount of peels you have and pick your jar based on that or just guess.  I just cut up enough to fill a 1.5L Pickl-It.  I probably had enough rind to fill up two of those.  Pour brine over the top and using your Dunk’R, weigh any floaters down.  Close up, fill your airlock with water and let set for 1-2 days.  Once bubble activity has died down, remove airlock and replace with the mini-airlock since the gases will continue to build up in the fridge for a time.  You can either swap lids with a Fido jar or use a Pickl-It plug once all activity has come to a stop.


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20 comments to Fermented Watermelon Rinds

  • I made some last year and added some cloves to the brine. I also made some in left over pickle juice. We liked them both iirc but not enough to finish them. That was before we discovered Pickl-it jars. Hopefully that is the missing piece. I have read that pickled fruit doesn’t last more than a few months. Have you read anything about that with using the pickl-it? I just wasn’t sure if that info changed with the better way of fermenting.

    • Melanie

      You know, I’m not sure. I was actually planning on asking some people about this because it occurred to me after I posted it that, duh, it’s a fruit. I’m wondering if a ferment time of 5 days is too long too. I guess I assumed because the rind is low in sugar that it would be more like a veggie ferment. Will keep you posted. I don’t think I’ll be able to test out how long they last because they are already almost gone 🙂

  • Thia

    Do you know if yeasts are involved, or is it strictly bacterial? I need to stay away from yeast containing ferments. (They really mess with my digestive issues!) I have heard apple cider vinegar contains yeast, and that sauerkraut is strictly bacterial…but beyond that, I don’t know how to tell? Any advice?

    • Thia

      I do use the Pickl·it, and Fido. I don’t like Kombucha, but did have to give up tibicos (aka “water kefir.”)

      Thanks, but I’m confused by the statement, though…when I brewed wine, it was in an anaerobic vessel, with an airlock. Grapes, and apples, have yeast naturally on them… But, you’re telling me if I add apple to my cabbage, when making kraut, I wont grow yeast in a Pickl·it? It doesnt seem jive. (?) Sorry, but I’m confused…I thought it was ingredients that made the difference, just wasnt sure what had yeast besides apples (and grapes.) (?)

      • Melanie

        You know, after I hit reply I thought of the whole wine being made in anaerobic vessels thing. I will research this further. I don’t want to tell you something and then be completely wrong and get you sick.

      • Melanie

        Well yikes, that didn’t take long for me to find an answer. There are definitely some ferments that can cause problems if you are sensitive to yeast. I’m curious so I’ll keep digging and see what all should be avoided. My first thoughts would be apples, grapes (or raisins) and ginger are probably no no’s.

  • There are always beneficial yeasts and bacteria when you ferment anaerobically. This does not contribute to yeast overgrowth that is generally associated with digestive problems – like candida.

    We are mostly made up of bacteria and yeast – it’s just a matter of keeping the good one outnumbering the bad ones.

    Hope this helps,
    Lisa of and author of a new book called Lisa’s Counter Culture: Pickles and Other Well Bred Foods being published soon (Sept 1, 2012)

  • Myra

    Above, you state: Cut peeled rinds into uniform pieces as well as you can.

    In your picture you show rinds with the peel still on in the jar. So which is it? With peels or without? Also if you take the peels off, where does the good bacteria come from?

    I am very interested as I have just harvested a large watermelon.

    • Melanie

      The peels are all cut off. A couple have a little green just where it I cut close. Since your still handling the watermelon so much during cutting, lots of it get wiped onto the melon. If you don’t feel comfortable fermenting like that, feel free to add 1/8 tsp Caldwell’s starter.

    • Melanie

      Or you can throw in a few of the peels that you cut off. I just wouldn’t eat them 🙂

  • Lynda

    Hi, maybe the reason you felt bad after eating fermented foods it’s because they are highly detoxifying, when bad yeast such as candida is exposed to this good probiotic yeast, they start dying and liberating a bunch of toxics into to the blood stream, this is known as a healing crisis that could last up to 1 week. But if you continue to eat them with a healthy eating plan you’ll be free of candida, and feeling healthier in no time.
    Hope this helps.

  • […] Juice (Two Ways) A couple of months ago, I fermented some watermelon rind (after Melanie from Pickle Me Too got me hooked). I tried all kinds of variations and stumbled on something quite good when I added […]

  • […] watermelon, currently as cheap as 68p/kilo in some of the shops in my neighbourhood. I used all the rind at once by chopping the flesh into several well-scrubbed old pesto jars to make individual fruit […]

  • Hi, I am going to start these. I just have regular airlocks that fit on a mason jar lid. I’m not sure what the mini airlocks are, but I don’t have those. What should I do after 2 days? Thank you. 🙂

  • […] couple of months ago, I fermented some watermelon rind (after Melanie from Pickle Me Too got me hooked). I tried all kinds of variations and stumbled on something quite good when I added […]

  • Peggy O'Neill

    Since you ate all your fermented watermelon rinds I suppose you don’t know how long they are safe to keep in cold storage?

  • Watermelons and cucumbers are members of the Cucurbitaceae family…….does that mean one could pickle watermelon rind with the same set of rules as one would pickle cucumbers?

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