Watermelon Rind Preserves

The texture of these preserves is firm and the taste is of clove and cinnamon. The thicker the rind the better, so a good choice is one of the larger, old-fashioned type watermelons, but the preserves can be made even from the rind of a small icebox type. Since you are using only the rind, the flesh color doesn’t matter.

By / Photography By Natalie Gantz | May 24, 2017


Scrape the rind clean of any flesh and cut into ½-inch cubes.

Combine 4 quarts of the water and the salt in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the rind and let soak overnight at room temperature.

The next day, drain the liquid and place the rind in a stainless steel or other nonreactive saucepan with 2 cups of the remaining water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the rind is just tender when pierced with the tines of a fork, about 35 to 40 minutes, less if the rind is thinner than ½ inch thick.

Drain well and set aside.

In a large saucepan (eventually you will be adding in the rind), combine all the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until the sugar dissolves and a syrup forms, about 5 minutes. Add the rind and cook over low heat until it becomes transparent, but not excessively soft, about 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cubes of rind and pack them tightly into hot, clean, dry pint or half pint jars with sealable lids. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars, filling the jars to within ½ inch of the rims. Using a damp cloth, wipe the rims clean. Cover with the lids and process for 30 minutes in a hot water bath.

Remove the jars and let them cool 12 hours or overnight. Check for a complete seal. Store any jar lacking a good seal in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place. The preserves will keep for up to 1 year. Once opened, keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.

About this recipe

For a complete list of what’s in season in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties this summer, visit EdibleMarinAndWineCountry.com.


  • 1½ pounds watermelon rind, outer layer of skin removed and discarded
  • 5 quarts water
  • ½ cup kosher or sea salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
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