I love watermelon. It is my favorite fruit by far. My parents used to have a video of my toddler self eating watermelon in the wading pool in just a diaper with watermelon juice running down my chest. There was a particularly hilarious one of me eating a slice that is wider than my head and tipping back to get a purchase and falling over. So over the course of a summer I eat my fair share of watermelon and always feel so wasteful throwing away all that rind. So I got it into my head to try making something with the rind. Just as an experiment. I read a bunch of recipes and they all made some sense to me in terms of flavor profiles, so I was ready to give it a shot. I decided on this recipe from Epicurious, but I adapted it to my own taste. It sounded sweeter than I would like so I increased the vinegar, decreased the sugar and added more heat.
Rind from a large watermelon, peeled and cut into strips.
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cups lime-infused sugar (I make lime sugar by zesting 2 limes into 1/2 pound of sugar and baking at 250 for a few hours and then grinding it back into small pieces with the bottom of a cup.) You could just add lime zest independently.
2 TBSP minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped dried red peppers
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 TBSP black peppercorns, coarsely crushed with flat side of a large knife
Bring it all to a boil, simmer for about an hour until the watermelon looks transparent. Remove from heat and store in airtight container for a few days before using. It’s an amazing blend of sweet and tart and spicy heat. Very delicious. It makes about a quart or so, so I gave half away as a gift for a friend.
I pan-fryed a pork chop and added some of the chutney and served with some simple roasted vegetables. For the veggies, I just sprinkled a little olive oil on them, added some kosher salt and baked at 450 until the began to caramelize. I think it might make a fabulous sweet and sour sauce for pork or chicken with rice. It should be delicious with lamb kebabs and of course, almost any Indian food.