Pickled Watermelon Rind
For brine per pound of rind:
1/4 cup salt
1 quart water
For syrup per pound of rind:
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
About 4 inches of cinnamon stick, broken up
1 tablespoon grated orange or lemon zest
Optional: cardamom, fennel seed, star anise
After you have eaten or cut away the red flesh of the watermelon, remove the hard green part of the rind. Cut it away with a sharp paring knife. If you wish you can leave the tiniest bit of pink on the rind, just for looks. Weigh the raw rind. Cut it into 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch cubes.
Soak the cut up rind overnight in a brine of 3/4 cup salt to 1 quart water per pound of rind.
To make the syrup, for every pound of rind, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup cider vinegar, 2 cups sugar, the chopped fresh ginger, the cinnamon stick, cloves, orange or lemon zest, and no more than a half teaspoon of one of the optional spices. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the sugar dissolves. Cool and set aside in a covered container. Keep it refrigerated if you are not using it immediately.
After the watermelon rind has been brined for 24 hours, drain it, discarding the brine, but do not rinse the watermelon rind.
Place the watermelon pieces in a pot that holds it comfortably, cover with fresh water, and boil until just barely tender. Drain and return to the pot.
Add the syrup to the drained, boiled rind and cook until the pieces are translucent, about 30 minutes.
Put the rind in sterilized jars with enough syrup to cover tightly. If desired, place the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Either way, allow to cool then store in the refrigerator.