Recipe courtesy of the National Center for Home Food Preservation
3 quarts (about 6 pounds) watermelon rind, unpared
3/4 cup salt
3 quarts water
2 quarts (2 trays) ice cubes
9 cups sugar
3 cups 5% vinegar, white
3 cups water
1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch pieces
1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed
Trim the pink flesh and outer green skin from thick watermelon rind. Cut into 1 inch squares or fancy shapes as desired. Cover with brine made by mixing the salt with 3 quarts cold water. Add ice cubes. Let stand 3 to 4 hours.
Drain; rinse in cold water. Cover with cold water and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes (do not overcook). Drain.
Combine sugar, vinegar, water, and spices (tied in a clean, thin, white cloth). Boil 5 minutes and pour over the watermelon; add lemon slices. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling and cook slowly 1 hour. Pack hot fruit loosely into clean, hot pint jars. To each jar add 1 piece of stick cinnamon from spice bag; cover with boiling syrup, leaving1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Add pint jars to boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, or slightly longer if you’re at higher altitude. Remove from water and place on tea towel. Let sit 24 hours and adjust seal if needed. Yields about 4 or 5 pints.
Serving Tip: Watermelon rinds would be great in a spinach and arugula salad with thick shavings of parmesan cheese and a simple balsamic vinaigrette.