Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Watermelon Pickles (Atchara)

I LOVE PICKLES. Well, papaya atchara to be exact. I tried a pickle recipe the other day and instead of using unripe papayas, I used watermelon rinds instead because apparently, that’s all I have in the fridge. Honestly, I have never thought about using watermelon rinds to make food because I always throw them out after enjoying the red juicy flesh. However, the thought about making something out them crossed my mind most of the time. I was wondering what I can do with them aside from throwing them out.   In any case, I was craving for atchara (Filipino pickles) the other day that was why I decided to save the watermelon rinds that day to make pickles in the afternoon.

Making watermelon pickles is really easy but I decided to make a small batch of it just for precaution. I wouldn’t want to throw heaps of pickles to the compost so I julienned some of it  and the other half, I made into dried watermelon candies. The recipe for the watermelon candy will be posted some other time.

Watermelon Pickles 

1 cup peeled watermelon rind, julienned
1 cup carrot, julienned
1 bulb onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 large bell pepper, julienned
¼ cup salt
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
Bay leaves
Basil seeds (optional)

Soak the julienned watermelon  in ¼ cup salt overnight.  This is your brine solution. The next day, rinse the watermelon and squeeze it to dry using a cheese cloth. Set aside

On a separate pan, pour vinegar, sugar and ½ tsp salt and bring to a simmer until the sugar and salt dissolves.  Turn off the pan and let the mixture cool before adding the vegetables, spices and the watermelon rinds. Store in fridge for 24 hours or longer before eating.

Watermelon pickles are unheard of by most Filipinos and to tell you the truth, I was a bit hesitant about eating the vinegar-soaked julienned watermelon rind. I find it even tastier and more aromatic than papaya pickles. It has some slightly rosy aroma to it and it is crunchier than your usual papaya pickles. I can’t wait to upcycle more watermelon rinds in the future. 

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