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Sweet and Savory Chinese Watermelon Rind Pickles Recipe

by Jeanette on July 26, 2013 · 23 Comments
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This quick recipe for Chinese Watermelon Rind Pickles is perfect as a summer side dish. Pull it out when it’s too hot to cook.

Chinese Watermelon Pickles © Jeanette's Healthy Living

A few years ago, a woman from Shanghai named Wendy lived with our family to help take care of my aging in-laws. Chinese people never throw food away, and eat every part of every animal and plant they can. I definitely have that characteristic in my blood. I re-purpose food any way I can.

These Sweet and Savory Watermelon Rind Pickles are just an example of how every piece of edible food is used up. During the summer, Wendy would make these pickles every time we had watermelon in the house. These reminded me of the pickled watermelon rinds my mom used to make except hers were sweet pickles (Mom…I need that recipe by the way).

Chinese Watermelon Pickles © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Watermelon rind is crunchy and has a vegetal quality, almost like cucumber, and makes for a very refreshing, light summer pickle. Tossed with just a little soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine and sugar, they’re ready in no time.

Although Wendy no longer lives with us, I am still reminded of how simple but good these pickles were. On nights when there wasn’t much to eat (the boys were extra hungry and Wendy and I would hardly get a bite), we knew we always had watermelon pickles and rice to eat.

More Sweet and Savory Watermelon Recipes:
Sweet and Salty Greek Watermelon Feta Mint Salad
Burmese Cucumber Watermelon Salad with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette
Indian Watermelon Lime Salad
Arugula Salad with Watermelon Vinaigrette, Liv Life
Watermelon, Mango and Tomato Salsa Fresca, The Perfect Pantry
Stacked Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios, Fifteen Spatulas
Grilled Watermelon Salad, Domestic Fits
Fruity Summer Shrimp Salad with Strawberry Lime Poppyseed Vinaigrette, Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Incredible Watermelon Salad, Noble Pig
Shrimp with Watermelon, Tomato and Feta, The Spiced Life (recipe)
Watermelon Gazpacho Shooters, Crazy Foodie Stunts (recipe)
Summer Refresher Watermelon Basil Cooler, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Sweet and Savory Chinese Watermelon Rind Pickles
  • 2 cups watermelon rinds, skin cut off, julienned
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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  1. I have been meaning to try watermelon rind pickled, it sounds delicious! I love this unique recipe, my hubby would love love this treat! Yum, Hugs, Terra

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Terra, funny I don’t think too many people pickle watermelon rinds anymore, but my mom used to. Hope you like them!

      • My mom used to make Watermelon Pickles but they were totally different. I made them for the first time last year. These look like something different we might try.

        • Jeanette Jeanette says:

          Linda, I’d love to hear how your mom used to make them. My mom’s were on the sweet side and the rinds were cut into chunks.

  2. Thank you for including me! I’ll have to try this.

  3. My mom adores watermelon pickles!! I have to admit that I haven’t been a big fan of hers (very thick rind pieces…), but these look darn tempting! Perhaps I should make them and surprise her?!! I think she’d love your version. I’ll keep you posted!

    • I got so excited about the pickles that I forgot to mention a word of thanks for including us in the round up!! :)

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Kim, the ones my mom used to make were also the thicker pieces. They were sweet pickles and really good, but you could only eat a few. This sweet and savory watermelon rind pickle is a lot lighter and very refreshing.

  4. Jeanette, this is so addictive…we have chanced over some southern melon rind pickles with delight but this version has such a nice touch of soya, tastes much better than our earlier experience with all crunchy tarty goodness, thanks for sharing :-)

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      So glad you enjoyed these! These watermelon rind pickles are on the light side and I find them really refreshing, especially on a hot summer day.

  5. Very unique, I have never tried it and looking forward to making it sometime. I’m still surprised that rinds could be used, feel bad that we waste so much. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Ash – growing up, my mom rarely wasted any food, and I’m in many ways, the same, whether it’s making these pickles to make use of watermelon rinds, or using up all the leftovers in my refrigerator to make fried rice.

  6. thanks for sharing i love that

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Glad you like this – I have this in my refrigerator all summer long because my kids love watermelon.

  7. I’ve never even thought to do anything with watermelon rinds! But pickling them does sound kind of lovely…all that sweet salty crunchy flavor!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Joanne, so funny, but most people probably don’t think of using watermelon rinds. I wouldn’t either except that my mom used to make watermelon rind pickles when I was growing up, and the woman from Shanghai who lived with us made a savory version like this one.

  8. I can’t WAIT to try these pickles! I love watermelon rind. Thanks for the link love too!

  9. I had no idea I could do this with our watermelon, what a great way to use it all up! Thanks Jeanette!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Pamela, so funny, if I hadn’t grown up eating watermelon rind pickles, I’d never think of it either 😉

  10. I haven’t heard or thought of these in decades! My grandma used to make them long ago, and I’m going to have to try the recipe myself soon!

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