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Quick watermelon rind pickle with cinnamon and chili

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  • Quick watermelon rind pickle with cinnamon and chili: making pickles
  • Quick watermelon rind pickle with cinnamon and chili: 2 jars one near and one far

Quick watermelon rind pickle with cinnamon and chili is a fantastic way to use watermelon rind rather than throwing this away. The pickle is a tasty condiment that is delicious with tacos or burgers and makes beautiful pickled cocktails especially margaritas such as my watermelon margarita with chili-lime-cinnamon salt or as a garnish for a classic lime margarita. Upcycling watermelon rind into quick pickle that can be used as an exotic and flavour packed cocktail ingredient is a really exciting way to reduce food waste and to create unique flavour pairings for cocktails using pickles and pickle brine.

Reserve the flesh of the watermelon to make into Mexican style paletas or fresh fruit ice blocks eaten dipped in spicy chili-lime salt solo or used as the base for making watermelon margarita cocktails. These ice blocks also use oranges and you can reserve the rind for use in watermelon rind quick pickle.

The idea for combining watermelon with chili, lime and cinnamon came from reading Niki Segnit’s Flavour thesaurus which makes this pairing with reference to Mexican sweets. Looking into this further I became fascinated with the vibrant and sweet-sour combinations of Mexican paletas: fresh fruit ice blocks or popsicles that are made with seasonal fruits and paired with chili. This watermelon rind quick pickle uses cinnamon and chili, along with star anise, pink pepper, coriander, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg and orange zest.

Quick watermelon rind pickle with cinnamon and chili

Print Recipe
Serves: 2-3 500ml jars Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 250 grams peeled watermelon rind
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon pink pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • Up to 3 cinnamon sticks (1 for each jar)
  • 1 small knob of unpeeled ginger sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ground
  • Orange zest pieces
  • 400ml apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tablespoon salt



Peel watermelon rind and sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of salt


Leave in a container in the fridge overnight to draw out the water


Sterilise your jars and lids – see Resources


To make the brine combine vinegar, sugar, water, 1 tablespoon of salt, spices, ginger and orange rind in a saucepan and heat and stir to dissolve sugar, allow to infuse for 10 minutes


Pack clean jars with drained watermelon rind


Add the larger pieces of orange peel, ginger and cinnamon to the jars along with the watermelon rind


Pour over the hot brine


Run a butter knife around your jars and gently tap onto the bench to release any air bubbles, if the fruit is floating to the surface of the brine you can use the cinnamon sticks to cross the tops of the jars horizontally angling down into the jar beneath the shoulder to hold the pieces down


Wipe rims with a clean tea towel and add the clean lids


Allow the jars to cool and then keep in the fridge for up to 2 months


Delicious with tacos, burgers, tofu or to finish stir fries, and in cocktails


Inspired by the watermelon chili pairing mentioned in the Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit and Pickled watermelon rind Cornersmith: Salads & pickles (2017: 90).

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