Pickled Watermelon Rind

   I guess i have been Down South too long. After having a nice healthy serving of watermelon, and not having composting facilities in my downtown living accommodations, I decided i needed to make a batch of pickled watermelon rind. I surfed for a recipe and found this one at The Bitten Word.
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Pickled Watermelon Rind
   A Bitten Word recipe adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation
Ingredients
2 quarts watermelon rind (equal to one medium-sized melon)
3/4 cup salt
3 quarts water
5 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Allspice
1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed
   Trim the pink flesh and the green outer skin from the rind. Cut into small strips, about 1″ x 2″. Cover with brine made by combining 3 quarts water and 3/4 cup salt. Refrigerate for five hours or overnight.
Drain; rinse. Cover the watermelon with water and bring to a boil; continue cooking until fork-tender, about another 15 minutes. (Overcooking will cause the rinds to become rubbery.) Drain.
Combine sugar, vinegar, water and spice. Boil 5 minutes and then pour over watermelon; add lemon slices. Refrigerate overnight.
   Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling; reduce heat to medium-high and for one hour. Pack the hot watermelon pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars.Cover with boiling syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal lids.
   To seal: Submerge the full jars in boiling water (enough water so the jars are 1-2″ below the surface); boil for 15 minutes (or slightly longer at higher altitudes). Remove jars and let them sit undisturbed at room temperature for 24 hours. Check seals.

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   I suppose this recipe is Okay. But why would one want to boil something TWICE in the middle of the summer when the place is already a steam bath?  And i should have considered that there were probably too many cloves. A few cloves go a long way.  Otherwise, the spicing is kind of like that used for mulled wine.  The texture is fine, but I think i am going to have to serve it over vanilla ice cream to sweeten it up a bit.

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   Adding the pickled watermelon rind to vanilla ice cream certainly improves the overall impression.  The sweetness of the ice cream compensates for the sour and clove taste of the watermelon. Enjoy!

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