Lacto-fermented watermelon rind pickles

Lacto-fermented Garlic-Dill Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon: Nature’s Sport’s Drink!

No snack says summer like a big, crisp, juicy slice of watermelon! Composed of 92% water and full of electrolytes, watermelon beats all sports drinks as a delicious way to rehydrate on a hot day, or during halftime at soccer games!  

Juicy, crisp, delicious watermelon!
Juicy, crisp, delicious watermelon!

Watermelon also pairs well with savoury dishes, such as salsas, gazpacho, and watermelon-feta salad.

watermelon-feta salad with kombucha vinaigrette and lacto-fermented red onions
watermelon-feta salad with kombucha vinaigrette and lacto-fermented red onions

Not only is watermelon delicious, it is also a nutrient-dense food.  At a low 43 calories per cup, watermelon is high in vitamins (especially A and C), and a good source of potassium, magnesium and lycopene.   But wait, the nutrients aren’t only found in the red flesh.  Watermelon rind is also edible, containing the amino acid citrulline, which has reportedly antioxidant effects.  Citrulline also converts to arginine, an amino acid vital to the heart and improved circulation.  You can nibble on the rinds or juice them, but a tastier method to is to make lacto-fermented dilled watermelon rind pickles!

lacto-fermented watermelon rind after 2 days
lacto-fermented watermelon rind after 2 days


Watermelon rinds have been lacto-fermented and pickled for ages.  They are popular in the Southern United States (recipes have been found dating back to the Civil War), and in Russian cuisine.  The lacto-fermentation process gives that distinctive tang, and the garlic, dill and brine flavour the neutral base, (similar to cucumbers) of the watermelon rind.

The ferment is fairly quick (4 days).  Many recipes advise to trim off the green rind, but I like to max out the crunch in my ferments and find the green rind makes for a crisper pickle.  You can trim the green off before serving if you find it too tough.  So, the next time you cool off with a juicy slice of watermelon, don’t compost the rind, make some delicious pickles instead!


Fermentation time: 4 days 


  • Watermelon rind, (washed, red flesh removed)
  • Brine (4 tsp salt + 4 cups water)
  • Dill (sprigs or heads)
  • Garlic (2-3 cloves, or more if you like it!)
  • Peppercorns, mustard seed, (optional)
  • Bayleaf
  • Fermentation container
  • Fermentation weight


  1. Slice rind into cubes or strips (peel off green rind, if desired).  Pack into jar, alternating with garlic, dill and spices.
watermelon rinds with dill and brine
watermelon rinds with dill and brine

2. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight   Sample after 3 days.  Add one more day if you require more flavour and texture.

3. Refrigerate and serve cold for maximum crispness

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