Sometimes it is the little frugal things you do that add up without you realising it. So it was that I was having a long overdue catch-up BYO lunch with my friend Evangeline from Nilbarcodfood. And while lunch she spotted something in what I thought was a dismally frugal lunchbox that she thought was of interest.
“What’s that,” she asked.
“Oh, it’s Japanese style picked watermelon.” I answered.
“You can eat watermelon rind?” she asked.
“Sure. Didn’t you know?”
There are several recipes for cooked pickled watermelon, including by Martha Stewart. I believe it is an old fashioned relish from southern US. But I adapted it a bit to make a lazy, Japanese home-style version.
Pickles have a long history in Japanese cuisine. They also make an appearance in home-style Chinese cooking, but they are treated with particular reverence in Japan. It is a nice way to bring some contrast to a rich meal. It is also a good way to incorporate different flavours and textures into a meal, and if you are using a good quality vinegar pickles can be good for you as well. And also, it helps to use up leftovers.
I serve this as an accompaniment for Asian style meals. I find it refreshing in hot weather. The idea is to add to it as you use up watermelon rind. The rind needs at least a few hours to taste nice, but you can leave it for several weeks. This is not designed to last long enough as a long-term preserve.
1 medium sized glass jar (around 250ml)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon raw sugar
Rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, to cover (up around 180ml to 200ml)
- Remove the pink flesh from the watermelon, cut into cubes or slices, eat and enjoy. Do not throw out the remaining rind.
- Carefully cut away the green outer rind. (You can eat this as well, but as it is a little tough I prefer not to.) Julienne the rind into strips.
- Cover the strips with salt and sugar and shape, then cover with the vinegar.
- Use as required, and continue to add watermelon rind to the mixture every few days. Store in the fridge.