My mother loves using these as appetizers by wrapping bacon around them, tooth-picking them and cooking in the oven until crispy, salty, sweet.
They’re relatively annoying to find in local markets and for a variety of reasons I expect them to be better made at home–organic watermelon, spices hand carried back from India, quality control. In a market, a jar half this size will cost about $4-5.
Pickled Watermelon Rinds with Water Bath
These will keep at least a year assuming a seal is made upon canning.
Rind from an 8lb watermelon, peeled, flesh removed and cubed
Lots of kosher salt
Lots of water
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 T whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches or so long
1-2 T star anise, whole
Optional: whole mace, tied in a cheesecloth bag (do not can it)
Peel and chop your watermelon rind and place the pieces in a briny water overnight, up to 24 hours, at room temperature. You should use 3T kosher salt to every quart of water. Let it sit a few minutes then give it a stir to dissolve.
Drain the rind and put it in a large pan, such as a pasta pot. Fill with water, just covering the pieces. Simmer until becoming slightly translucent, about 40 minutes.
Drain again and set aside. Use the same pot to combine the vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil, add the spices and the watermelon rind, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking about 20-30 more minutes, until all pieces are translucent.
Immediately transfer the rind pieces into clean mason jars or canning jars and have new lids ready and clean. Once the rind is distributed, pour the spices and spice syrup (less the mace packet in cheesecloth) in over the rind until about 1/4 inch from the top, covering the pieces.
Screw the lids on with moderate force and place into a large pot (maybe the same one, cleaned?) filled with warm/hot from the tap water, and bring it to a gentle boil. Once boiling, continue for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and leave until cool enough to handle.
If you force the jars to cool more quickly, they will likely crack or break. Within about an hour, all of the seals will probably sink to show that they are pasteurized and ready for storage. If they have not sunk by 24 hours later, you’ll need to repeat the water bath process.