Watermelon Rind Pickles- forgot to peel the outside of the rind!

Asked May 18, 2020, 3:14 PM EDT

Good afternoon, I forgot to peel the outside of the watermelon rind before canning the rind pickles (I'm using water bath method and the recipe from Ball's Guide to Preserving published in 2017). My question is whether or not this would impact shelf life or impose as a health hazard such as increased chance of botulism? Essentially, should I plan on eating them soon and not presume they are shelf stable? Thanks! Katie

Multnomah County Oregon

3 Responses

Thanks for contacting Ask-the-Expert. Before I can provide you with additional information, please clarify for me if the recipe that you prepared was the one for the Watermelon Rind Preserves published in the Ball Guide. Watermelon rind pickles are not the same as Watermelon rind preserves. Please let me know. Thanks!

Hi Kelly, the recipe is for Watermelon Rind Pickles. It's edition 37, published 2017, pg 85. ISBN 0-9727537-4-5. I don't know if you need all that, but providing it in case it helps!

Thanks for forwarding the reference to the recipe. I am going to assume that you fully washed the outside of the watermelon before you started to remove any potential sources of contamination. The dark green peel would be very hard to penetrate during processing. However, the recipe calls for the rind to be cut into 1” cubes. 1" cubes should allow for enough surface area exposure for vinegar brine to adequately acidify the watermelon flesh. If you followed the recipe, there shouldn't be a risk of botulism. However, the quality of the final product could be affected. The storage time for the product could also be shortened by the presence of the brine. I hope that this helps clarify your questions.