If you throw away the rinds after going to town on a watermelon, you’re doing it wrong. After a quick trip in the Instant Pot (and with the help of some sugar and hot sauce) the firm fruit skin will turn into tender watermelon rind pickles. The sweet and spicy snack can be chopped into a salad, served alongside a starchier meal, or simply as is. Finger-licking tasty as watermelon rind pickles are, the pressure-cooker is the real secret weapon behind this dish. Unlike most other watermelon rind pickle recipes, which call for too much precious times spent boiling or soaking, the Instant Pot cooks the rinds in just 10 minutes—proving it is worthy of its name.
Pile watermelon rinds, sliced lemons, salt, and sugar into a pressure cooker. Top with a hefty pour of your favorite hot sauce and set the Instant Pot to cook on high. When the pickles are finished, strain out the liquid because—bonus recipe—you can shake the brine with your favorite liquor for a summery cocktail like no other.
Instant Pot Watermelon Rind Pickles
Photo by Kelsey Hansen
Kitchen gear kindly provided by our partners at Jet.com.
1 small watermelon
4 lemons, sliced thinly, seeds removed
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons hot sauce (more or less to taste)
How to Make It
Peel the watermelon. This may seem daunting, but a Y-shaped peeler does the trick pretty handily. Once it's been denuded, quarter the melon with a sharp knife, then on each side, run the blade along the place where the pink flesh meets the white rind, slicing in as far as you can go. Then, starting at one tip, slide the blade in and separate the flesh from the rind. Use a spoon to scrape off as much pink as you can, and reserve all the watermelon flesh for whatever you'd normally do with that.
Slice the rind into strips of a size that pleases you, removing stem ends. Place the strips in the Instant Pot (or the pressure cooker of your choice) along with lemon slices. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and hot sauce. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure.
Pour into a lidded container and cool. Eat the watermelon and lemon as a snack or condiment, and shake the flavorful brine over ice with your favorite spirit for a bonus cocktail. They'll keep in the refrigerator for about a week.