Watermelon Rind Preserves

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. + chilling Cook: 1 hour 15 min.


6 half-pints

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
This is an old-fashioned recipe and a wonderful way to reduce food waste. Watermelon rind preserves are not like traditional preserves that you buy in a grocery store. They are more like candied watermelon pieces in a cinnamon-spiced syrup. The watermelon pieces can be eaten plain or stirred into cakes and cookies, as you would use candied cherries, pineapple or citrus peel. Spoon the sweet syrup over warm buttered biscuits or stir it into hot or iced tea for sweetness. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
Watermelon Rind Preserves Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds watermelon rind
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 quarts warm water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods


  1. Trim green skin and pink flesh from watermelon rind; chop enough rind to yield 6 cups. In a large bowl, stir salt and 2 quarts warm water until salt is dissolved. Add 6 cups chopped rind. Cover and refrigerate 5-6 hours. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain. Cover rind with cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Transfer rind to a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until just tender, 10-15 minutes; drain.
  2. To make preserves, in a stockpot, combine sugar, lemon juice and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in rind. Place cinnamon, cloves and cardamom on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string. Add to stockpot. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until rind is clear, 30-45 minutes. Discard spice bag.
  3. Remove from heat. Ladle hot mixture into 6 hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
  4. Place jars into canner with water simmering, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

Watermelon Rind Preserves Tips

How do you peel the green skin off of the watermelon?

Cut the ends of the whole watermelon to create two flat sides. Then, stand the watermelon up on one of the flat sides, and cut strips of the rind away from the fruit. Cut the watermelon rind into manageable chunks, and then use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to peel the green skin from the rind. Check out our guide on how to cut a watermelon to learn more tips.

How thick should the watermelon rinds be for watermelon rind preserves?

The rinds should be thick enough to chop 1/2-inch to 1-inch-thick cubes.

How do you serve watermelon rind preserves?

Watermelon rind preserves can be used in baked dishes the same way you would use any candied fruit, as a spread for toast and biscuits, or as a topping to drizzle over ice cream or cake! If you like putting the watermelon rind to use, here are some things you can do with a watermelon, and if you liked this recipe, try some of our other easy preserves recipes!

Sarah Fischer, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 71 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

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