The Amish are famous for a few things: they live without modern technology, care about nature, and cook fantastic food. They lead a basic life and want to take care of themselves as much as possible because of their strong faith in God.
The Amish are a religious group who listen to a bishop for advice on how to live. Unlike the Mennonites, who are similar but not exactly the same, the Amish usually don’t use electricity, cars, and most things that make our lives easy nowadays.
By using special methods for canning food, they can make sure it stays good to eat for a long time. This is super important when you don’t have a fridge! The Amish folks live mainly from what they can get from the land. Since they have many kids, keeping food stored well is a big deal to make sure everyone has enough to eat.
Their way of life can teach us “English” people that it’s really possible to live without modern stuff and use what’s around us. Watermelon rind pickles are a great example of that. These pickles, which are both sweet and salty, are a wonderful addition to salads, sandwiches, or just as a tasty snack.
Now, let’s get to the recipe.
- 1 medium-sized ripe watermelon rind with the green peel taken off
- 1 cup salt
- 6 cups sugar
- 4 cups vinegar (I used white, but apple cider vinegar would be great too)
- 3 tablespoon pickling spices or spices of your choice
- pint canning jars
- canning pot
- quart sauce pot
- mixing bowl
Step 1: Slice your watermelon into 1 inch cubes. Leave some of the red flesh on these. Cut off the green shell and place your rinds into a mixing bowl.
Add in your salt and cover until the top of the watermelon rind is covered with water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
Step 2: While your rind is soaking inside the salt brine, it is time to make a sweet brine. Mix your sugar, spices, and vinegar into your quart saucepan. Bring this to a boil.
If you do not want whole spices inside your pickle brine, strain these out.
Step 3: Take your canning jars and lids and disinfect them by putting them into your canning pot and boiling them. This is very important to help prevent botulism.
Step 4: Drain your watermelon rinds and put them to the side. If you soaked the rinds overnight, rinse with cold water.
Step 5: Take these jars out of the water after being boiled for 10 minutes. This allows the proper time to have any bacteria killed. Pack these jars with your watermelon rinds and then add your brine in.
You should allow your canning jar to have appropriate headspace. For watermelon pickles, a ½ inch headspace is the proper space.
Wipe around the rim to make sure that your jars will seal properly, which is essential to shelf life! Place lids onto your filled canning jars and then twist your ring on.
Step 6: Place your filled cans inside your waterbath; the water should cover the tops of the jars. Process these at a simmer for 10 minutes. It is important to not let the jars touch during this process or they will not seal properly.
Once finished pull your finished jars out of your pot. Do not move them too much during the first 24 hours to allow for your jars to seal properly.
Step 7: Allow to cool overnight. Within 24 hours, your jars should be sealed. These pickles are shelf stable for at least a year. The longer your pickles sit in the brine, the better they will taste.
Some of the spices you can use are endless. I used a basic premade pickling spice blend; however, you could use any of the following: ginger, peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves. mustard seed, fennel, coriander.
There are many others as well. But considering that this is a sweet pickle recipe, I tend to lean more towards the warmer flavors like ginger.
I ended up having extra brine, which I took and made pickled onions. The brine turned out to be a sweet and flavorful brine. I used the onions on chicken tacos and the watermelon rind in a nice chicken salad. The mixture of sweet and spice was a wonderful addition.
Why Canning Food Is So Important
Being able to can food in a safe way is really crucial. The Amish are experts at keeping their food safe. If a difficult situation comes up, they can take care of themselves without relying on others. As people who prepare for emergencies, we can learn from them to make sure we’re ready for things that might happen.
Another good thing about having a good mix of different foods stored up is that you can make a lot more recipes. It’s way better than only having a few types of food to choose from.
There are many ways of ensuring that your shelf life lasts far longer. Take off the metal ring from the jar when you store it. Even though it might seem strange, this helps make sure the jar is sealed properly. Also, keep your jars in a cool and dry spot. Remember to switch out your stored food often to keep it fresh.
The number one way to make sure you have the best storage for canning is to make sure you can your food correctly. Improperly canned foods will degrade in nutrients faster and even go rancid.
When you gather a bunch of supplies, you’re ensuring you and your family have enough for the future. Using stuff like watermelon rinds is a smart way to avoid throwing away food. I even gave the outer parts of the rinds to our chickens, so this recipe didn’t create any waste.
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