It’s almost Super Bowl time, y’all. And here’s the thing about that: this is the one day out of the year that even those who are generally about as interested in football as Ina is in men who aren’t Jeffrey will willingly plop themselves in front of the television for a good three hours to commune with those friends and spouses and boyfriends who can quote Julio Jones’s receiving yards at the drop of a hat.
I’m the kind of girl who piles more sauerkraut on her ballpark hotdog than the bun can hold. I’ve never met a jar of kosher dills I didn’t like. I have an insatiable taste for the briny goodness that is the caper. That is to say, I love pickles.
Until a couple weeks ago, my love for all things preserved was limited to the store bought. But then, after relieving a watermelon of its juicy innards, I felt the usual pang of guilt while throwing away the rind. So I did what any respectable Southern girl would do: I decided to pickle it. After that, the salty part of my palate sort of took over and I’m not responsible for what happened next. You’ll just have to read about it. Hint: it has everything to do with Brussels sprouts.
N.B. These quick pickles are intended to be eaten within 24hrs to 10 days. These are not meant to be kept for long periods of time because the jars haven’t been properly sterilized for long-term storage!
Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind
*adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku recipe
• 1 quart watermelon rind (including ½-inch of red flesh left on the rind), cut into pieces about 1-inch square (~2 pounds; approximately half of the rind from a seedless-sized watermelon)
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• ½ cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 2½ teaspoons table salt or 3¾ teaspoons Kosher salt (Kosher salt has more volume by weight*)
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp mustard seed
• ¼ tsp celery seed
• 1 habanero, finely chopped
1. Trim the rind of ½ a seedless-sized watermelon of all the dark green, leaving about ½” red on each rind. Cut to about 1” cubes.
2. Combine everything except the habanero and watermelon in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Add watermelon rinds to pickling liquid and bring back to a boil. Simmer for one minute and turn off heat.
4. Let cool then fill two mason jars with rinds and liquid. Top with ½ a habanero per jar.
• 1-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1-1/4 cup water
• 1 Tbsp sea/pickling salt
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 chiles de árbol
• 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
• ½ tsp black peppercorns
• 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in thirds
1. Cut brussels sprouts into thirds and let soak in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes.
2. Thinly slice 6 cloves of garlic and set aside.
3. Stir together vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
4. While the pickling liquid is heating up, add ¼ tsp of mustard seed and black peppercorns to each mason jar. Then, add in the Brussels sprouts. Finally, add one or two dried chiles de árbol to each jar, depending on your preferred spice level.
5. Once the liquid is boiling, pour it over the Brussels sprouts and let cool. Once cool, top with lids and refrigerate.
*the kind of salt you use matters! Here’s a handy conversion chart.