Japanese style pickled watermelon rind

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Sometimes it is the little frugal things you do that add up without you realising it. So it was that I was having a long overdue catch-up BYO lunch with my friend Evangeline from Nilbarcodfood.  And while lunch she spotted something in what I thought was a dismally frugal lunchbox that she thought was of interest.

“What’s that,” she asked.

“Oh, it’s Japanese style picked watermelon.” I answered.

“You can eat watermelon rind?” she asked.

“Sure.  Didn’t you know?”

There are several recipes for cooked pickled watermelon, including by Martha Stewart. I believe it is an old fashioned relish from southern US.  But I adapted it a bit to make a lazy, Japanese home-style version.

Pickles have a long history in Japanese cuisine.  They also make an appearance in home-style Chinese cooking, but they are treated with particular reverence in Japan.  It is a nice way to bring some contrast to a rich meal.  It is also a good way to incorporate different flavours and textures into a meal, and if you are using a good quality vinegar pickles can be good for you as well.  And also, it helps to use up leftovers.

I serve this as an accompaniment for Asian style meals. I find it refreshing in hot weather.  The idea is to add to it as you use up watermelon rind.  The rind needs at least a few hours to taste nice, but you can leave it for several weeks.  This is not designed to last long enough as a long-term preserve.

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Ingredients

1 medium sized glass jar (around 250ml)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon raw sugar
Rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, to cover (up around 180ml to 200ml)
Watermelon rind

Method

  1. Remove the pink flesh from the watermelon, cut into cubes or slices, eat and enjoy.  Do not throw out the remaining rind.
  2. Carefully cut away the green outer rind. (You can eat this as well, but as it is a little tough I prefer not to.)  Julienne the rind into strips.
  3. Cover the strips with salt and sugar and shape, then cover with the vinegar.
  4. Use as required, and continue to add watermelon rind to the mixture every few days.  Store in the fridge.
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