- Rind of 1 large watermelon (see Tip)
- 3/4 cup pickling salt or 3/4 heaping cup kosher
- 1 gallon plus 1 cup water
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 cups cider vinegar
- 4 cinnamon sticks, halved
- 1 Tbs. whole cloves
- 1 Tbs. whole allspice
- 1/4 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, combine the salt and the 1 gallon water and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the watermelon rind and top with a plate to keep the rind submerged. Soak for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain the rind, rinse well and drain again.
In a large saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vinegar and cinnamon sticks and add the 1 cup water. Tie the cloves, allspice and mustard seeds in a small piece of cheesecloth and add to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the watermelon rind and lemon slices. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and let the mixture stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Prepare eight 1-pint canning jars according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Set the watermelon mixture over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rind turns somewhat translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the bag of spices. Spoon the watermelon mixture into the prepared jars, dividing the lemon slices and cinnamon sticks more or less evenly among the jars and leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.
Process the jars in a boiling-water bath according to the manufacturer's instructions, generally about 10 minutes. Let the pickles stand for at least several weeks before serving. Refrigerate the jars after opening. Makes about 8 pints.
Tip: Many watermelons today have thin rinds compared with those that our grandparents grew. If you have any choice in the matter, choose a melon with a thick rind, such as a Dixie Lee variety.