Don’t throw those away! How to Reuse Watermelon Rind

Photo: @ Utopia / Do Trung

There’s nothing better than fresh watermelon for dessert in the summer. But don’t the throw the rind away – use it up. We’ll show you a couple of tasty recipes to turn those scraps into pickled watermelon rind, smoothies and marmalade.

There’s no doubt that the first thing you think of when it comes to watermelon is fruity, juicy and refreshing pink pulp. Believe it or not, all parts of a watermelon are edible – even the seeds and rind. There are a ton of easy recipes for putting watermelon rind to use  – we’ll show you how.

Reuse Watermelon Leftovers in No Time

Watermelon Rinds on Cutting Board
Don’t trick yourself into thinking watermelon rinds are unavoidable food waste. (Photo: @ Utopia / Do Trung)

So, you’ve got yourself some leftover watermelon rinds and are off to the kitchen anyway? Then give one these ideas a try:

1. Watermelon Rind Zest

It couldn’t be simpler: Grind down the rind and mix it in a salad. Try whipping up a tasty watermelon rind herb slaw or put them to use in a cucumber-dill salad. Or mix the shredded watermelon rinds into a cold soup.

Tip: A great topping for soups or salads are roasted watermelon seeds.

2. Watermelon Rind Smoothie

The next time you find yourself craving a smoothie (or just about any other fruity drink), toss some watermelon rinds into your mixer. This way you don’t let anything go to waste and lend your smoothie some extra fiber.

Pickled Watermelon Rind Recipe

Pickled Watermelon Rind
Pickled watermelon rinds are sure to be the summer hit at your next gathering. (Photo: @ Utopia / Do Trung)


Switch things up and let watermelon rinds take the lead role in your recipe. Pickled and candied watermelon rinds are all the craze at county fairs and food events of the like.

For approximately two to three glasses each filled with 1¾ cups pickled watermelon rind, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 large watermelon
  • 3 Tbsp. Salt
  • The juice of 1 organic lemon or lime
  • 4 ¼ cups of balsamic vinegar
  • 25 oz. sugar
  • ¾ in. fresh ginger root
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • 8 allspice berries

Now follow these steps:

  1. Slice the watermelon into eighths. Remove the pink fruit so that approx. ½ inch of the rind remains.
  2. Using a sharp knife, remove the dark green (often striped) outer shell.
  3. Together with the rest of the pink fruit you set aside, cut the light green rind into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Sprinkle in some salt and mix with juice of half a lemon. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and leave to sit overnight.
  5. Rinse the rind with cold water.
  6. Place the rind into a pot and fill with water until the pieces are completely submerged.
  7. Bring everything to a boil. Turn down the stove and let simmer for 15 minutes at low heat.
  8. Finely slice the ginger and lemon. Roughly grind the cinnamon, cloves and allspice berries.
  9. Mix approximately one fourth of the boiling mixture with balsamic vinegar, sugar and add the spices, then bring to a boil.
  10. Now add the melon fruit and simmer at low heat for around 50 minutes. The rind should now appear translucent.
  11. Take the pot and fill contents into sterilized resealable glasses and close immediately. Let sit for at least two to three weeks.

Serve your pickled watermelon rind as a bitter-sweet side-dish.

Watermelon Rind Marmalade Recipe

Watermelon rind marmalade
This watermelon rind recipe is easy as ever and is sure to impress your guests at your next summer brunch. (Photo: © Utopia / Binford)

Yes, that’s correct – you can even make marmalade using watermelon rind.

It’s easy. Here’s how:

For around six to seven marmalade glasses with around half a cup fill capacity you’ll need:

  • Around 2 ¼ lbs. of watermelon rind
  • 10 cups of water
  • 4/5 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 ¼ lbs. canning sugar
  • 1 package of vanilla sugar

Here’s how you make marmalade from watermelon rinds:

  1. Slice the watermelon into eighths. Remove the pink fruit so that around a half an inch of the rind remains.
  2. Using a sharp knife, remove the dark green (often striped) outer shell.
  3. Together with the rest of the pink fruit you set aside, cut the light green rind into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Add the ten cups of water along with the apple cider vinegar and let boil at mid-heat for around two hours.
  5. Rinse the rind and bring them to a cool with cold water.
  6. Place the rind back into the pot. Add 2 cups of water, lemon juice from one lemon, the 2 ¼ lbs. of canning sugar and one package of vanilla sugar. Boil for as long as needed until the mixture has thickened. Purée the mix to a consistency of your choosing.
  7. Fill the hot marmalade into glasses. Close and place upside-down for five minutes. Let rest for around 12 hours wrapped in a dishtowel.

2 Great Reasons to Reuse Watermelon Rinds

Juicy Watermelon
Watermelon rind is the richest known dietary source of the amino acid citrulline. (Photo: CCo Public Domain / Pexels - Zain Ali)

1. Watermelon is packed-full with nutrients

Watermelon rind is laden with nutritious contents: They contain lots of fiber which makes you feel full, amino acids which support muscle growth and vitamin A which is essential for your eyes and skin.

Located between the green outer shell and the fruit itself is another white layer, one which is abundant in the amino acid citrulline. The body takes citrulline and transforms it into an amino acid known as arginine. This expands the blood vessels and helps improve overall circulation.

According to a handful of American scientists, arginine may even be beneficial to those with erectile dysfunction. Whether the intended effect can be achieved by eating watermelon is still up for debate, but unlikely: The concentration of amino acids in the fruit is very small.

2. Watermelon rind isn’t food waste

Food waste is one of the pressing problems of our time. In the U.S. alone, we waste close to 50 million tons of food a year. For scale, this is equal to the total amount of food produced in Sub Saharan Africa. Located within these endless heaps of trash is a significant amount of edible food which never made it onto our plates.

When we waste food, the environment bears the consequences: In order to produce food, we require energy, water and other natural resources. The more we use, the larger our ecological footprint – we’re using up the resources for generations to come.

The climate also takes a hit when we waste food. For example, the entirety of the food waste created throughout the EU results in carbon emissions equal to that of the entire country of the Netherlands.

Half of all wasted food at the consumer level are fruits and vegetables. As a matter of fact, we can indeed do something about this by making small but pivotal changes to our food consumption habits. When you begin to reuse rinds, peels, and another “scraps”, you prevent waste and reduce pileup in landfills. You’re looking to reduce your own food waste and get more out the food you buy? Check out our article on reusing kitchen scraps to use in loads of different recipes such as in a vegetable broth or homemade pesto.

Buy Organic Watermelons

Buy organic watermelons
You’ll find organic watermelons are you local farmers’ market when in season. (Photo: Utopia / Binford)

If you intend to reuse watermelon rind, be sure that the watermelon itself comes from an organic source. Conventional watermelons usually get sprayed with various pesticides. In China, for example, the chemical forchlorfenuron is used as a plant growth regulator.

Pesticides don’t just inflict harm to the pest they target, but also animals and insects – and thus pose a serious threat to ecosystem biodiversity. In addition, many of these substances have been suspected of causing adverse health effects – glyphosate is only the tip of the iceberg. Even after rinsing your fruits and vegetables, remnants of pesticides may still linger on the surface. Organic watermelons aren’t treated with these chemicals and are the safest way towards responsible sustainable (food) consumption.

Read more: 

This text was translated from German by Evan Binford. You can view the original here.

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