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Pickled Watermelon Rinds


watermelon rind, 4 quarts of 1-inch chunks (see directions for preparation)
3 quarts water
3/4 cup salt
1 quart white or cider vinegar
8 cups sugar
2 tablespoons whole cloves
10 to 12 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
red food coloring, optional

Peel green skin and cut off inner pink from watermelon rind; cut into 1-inch chunks and measure 4 quarts. Put in a non-metal bowl and add the water and salt. Add more water if necessary, to cover the rind chunks. Cover and soak overnight in refrigerator. Drain and cover with clear water; transfer to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 30 minutes; drain. Pour vinegar into an 8-quart kettle; add sugar. Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Add the drained watermelon rind. Boil gently until rind is transparent and syrup is slightly thickened, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove spices 15 minutes before done and add the food coloring, if using, just to tint.
Spoon into hot sterilized 1-pint jars, leaving about 1/2-inch head space, and seal. Process jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. For altitudes from 1,001 to 6,000 feet, process for 15 minutes. For altitudes over 6,000 feet, process for 20 minutes.
Makes about 4 pints.


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