Most people recognize watermelon as a delicious summertime treat and enjoy eating the juicy reddish-pink-colored flesh. Afterward, the rind gets tossed in the trash without a second thought. I did this same thing for many years until I realized that not only can you eat the watermelon rind, it actually tastes pretty delicious and has some nutritional benefits as well.
Here’s everything you need to know about preparing and eating the watermelon rind and some great recipes that you can try out. So the next time you have a watermelon, make sure to save the rind for later.
Many people don’t realize that watermelon is closely related to cucumber. Once you make that connection, it’s easy to see why you could eat the watermelon rind. The “rind” of the watermelon refers to the green skin and thick white part surrounding and protecting the juicy fruit inside.
Although with cucumber, you eat the green skin without any problem, with watermelon, you want to skip that part and mainly eat the white part of the rind underneath.
There’s a lot of recent information about the numerous health benefits of eating watermelon rind, including some very bold claims. Whether or not all of those claims are true is hard to say. However, what we do know is that watermelon as a whole is a nutritious fruit full of Vitamin C, B6, and Potassium.
Watermelon rind has the added benefit of being rich in fiber. It also has a component in it called citrulline in it. The amino acid citrulline is said to help remove toxins, promote good circulation and aid in cardiovascular health.
Even if you don’t buy into all of the health claims, it’s worth eating the watermelon rind simply because it prevents you from throwing it into the trash as waste and provides a unique way to add flavor to many dishes.
Yes, you can eat watermelon rind raw and simply consume it when you eat the rest of a piece of watermelon. Just make sure you leave the skin’s very outer dark green part behind, as that part doesn’t taste very good.
However, the raw taste doesn’t appeal to everyone. Luckily, there are numerous ways to prepare the rind that add flavor and make it taste more appealing and even quite delicious.
Many recipes use raw watermelon rind as a component in slaw or salads and even in gazpacho. It’s really quite versatile.
The taste of watermelon rind can be described as slightly bitter if you’re eating the watermelon rind raw. Perhaps that comes from comparing the taste of the rind with the sweet fruit inside.
Another way to describe the taste of watermelon rind is to say that it tastes a bit like jicama (slightly sweet and a bit nutty) but still has a slight watermelon taste to it.
However, watermelon rind takes on the flavors you mix it with quite well, making it an adaptable component in many different recipes.
The best way to decide whether you like watermelon rind raw is to bite into it the next time you’re eating watermelon. If you don’t like it, you can try using it in recipes with other ingredients to make it taste delicious.
Personally, I prefer preparing watermelon rind with other ingredients, which I think taste better.
If you’re eating the watermelon rind raw at the same time you eat the rest of the watermelon, you don’t need to do any special preparation for it. As mentioned, just ensure you leave the thick, dark green part behind.
However, if you’re using the watermelon rind in a recipe, either raw or planning to cook it, you’ll need to take a few steps to prepare it first.
First, peel or slice off the hard green skin on the very outside of the watermelon rind. The thick white part will remain.
Depending on your recipe, you can chop up the white part of the rind in various ways. Julienning works well if you want to use it in a slaw or salad, chopping into cubes works great for stir-frys, and thick slices work perfectly for pickling it.
Once you’ve peeled and cut the watermelon rind, you’re ready to use it in the recipe of your choice.
If you’ve cut up a giant watermelon or two for a party, you may have too much rind to use up quickly. Don’t worry. You can store those extra rinds in the freezer as you would with many other fruits and vegetables.
The best way to freeze the watermelon rind is to remove the thick green skin and chop it or slice it into smaller pieces. Store the pieces in a ziplock freezer bag and lay them flat in the freezer. As you need to use the watermelon rind in recipes, remove a little bit at a time and defrost it before use. If you’re using the rinds in a smoothie, you don’t even need to thaw them out first.
If the taste of raw watermelon rind doesn’t appeal to you, many recipes exist where you can cook the rind and add other ingredients to it that make it more flavorful. You can cook the rind the same way as many other vegetables, such as roasting, boiling, or baking.
Pickling the rind is a popular way to enjoy this part of the watermelon. You can also make the rind into candy, put them in a smoothie, or make preserves out of them. The possibilities are endless.
Once you see how versatile watermelon rind is as an ingredient, you’ll never throw them in the trash or compost bin again.
You can also use watermelon rind in your skincare routine, providing yet another reason to hang on to this part of the melon once you’ve eaten the flesh inside. Many people say that it helps your skin to lock in moisture and can keep it smooth and glowing. Some also say it relieves aggravated skin by speeding up cell turnover.
If you want to try it yourself, you can rub the rind over the area you want to soothe, smooth, or make glow. You can also make the rinds into a paste and freeze them as ice cubes to use on the face and skin.
Watermelon Rind Recipes
No doubt you’re ready to dive in and try some watermelon rind recipes of your own. Here are a few of my favorites, some that even surprised me when I tried them the first time.
Watermelon Rind Gazpacho – from watermelon.org. Combines the tastes of a traditional gazpacho with the juiciness of the watermelon rind to create a delicious summery soup.
Pickled Watermelon Rind – from Tasting Table. Pickling watermelon rind is one of the most popular ways to prepare it. Preparing is a bit complicated, but the results are worth the patience.
Watermelon Rind Jam – from Savoring Italy. This recipe mixes watermelon rind with sugar to create a jam that tastes great on crackers, cheese, or even toast.
Roasted Watermelon Rind Parmesan – from Watermelon.org. This recipe makes a great side dish in the summertime and an alternative to roasting heavier root vegetables. The watermelon rind tastes excellent with the parmesan and various other herbs.
Sweet & Spicy Chutney – from My Heart Beets. This tasty condiment goes well on practically anything you can think of, not just Indian dishes. You’ll enjoy using it on everything from fish to burgers, and the best part is that you make it in a slow cooker.
Candied Watermelon Rind – from Oh, Bite It. Making watermelon rind “candy” is a unique way to use up this part of the watermelon and a delicious sweet treat. This recipe uses mint sugar, giving the end result a little kick. You’ll enjoy it dipped in chocolate or by adding it to other types of baked goods.
Sweet & Sour Watermelon Rind Stir-Fry – from Delish. This recipe uses sugar and vinegar to create a sweet and sour taste for the watermelon rind. Once made, it tastes great over rice, so use it on its own or paired with other vegetables as a vegetarian meal, or add it to a chicken or beef stir-fry.
Watermelon Rind Coleslaw – from fanntasticfood. This unique twist on the traditional summer bbq staple will wow your guests with the unexpected. Grating the rind makes it almost the texture of a cucumber and is a good substitute for traditional cabbage.
Watermelon Rind Salsa – from Watermelonrind.com. This recipe makes a delicious sweet salsa that you can use with chips or on top of chicken or fish for a refreshing taste. Make this one right before you serve it for the best taste.
Watermelon Rind Preserves – from Taste of Home. This sweet-tasting preserve tastes more like a dessert than something you’d spread on your toast. Use it in cakes, cookies, or other baked goods, or scoop it over vanilla ice cream for a treat.
Fermented Watermelon Rind With Radishes – from Mountain Feed and Farm Supply. This recipe combines watermelon rind with radishes and ferments them together with a bay leaf to make a salty treat that’s versatile to use.
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