Pickled Watermelon

This year we attempted to grow some fruit and vegetables in our garden for the first time. It was all a bit trial and error, but one of the surprise success stories were our watermelons – a few seeds thrown down as a bit of an afterthought in mid summer did really well and yielded at least ten decent sized specimens.

We were a little over enthusiastic when the first of the melons reached ‘supermarket size’ and were disappointed to discover that the fruit was not quite ripe. Not wanting to waste the considerable amount of flesh that there was (albeit white rather than pink), we quickly searched the internet for ideas of what to do with unripe melon.

Pickling was suggested on a number of sites with various options involving salt and vinegar based brines. We’d never tried pickled watermelon before and I must admit I was a bit sceptical, but we do love our pickles and didn’t have any other ideas.

The results were surprisingly good and the cider vinegar pickled melon described below has become a real favourite in our house as an accompaniment to cheeses and hams.


Sterilise enough jars to hold your melon.

Then put the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and thyme in a pan and bring to a boil.

Fill the sterilised jars with the chopped melon. Pour the hot vinegar brine over the melon and seal the jars tightly.

Keep refrigerated until use. We left ours about three weeks before first opening.


The ingredients below can be scaled up or down relative to how much melon you want to pickle:

  • Watermelon (roughly cut) – 1kg
  • Cider vinegar – 6 cups
  • Fresh thyme – 2 teaspoons
  • Brown sugar – 1 1/3 cups
  • Lemon juice – 8 tablespoons
Whilst our first try was with an unripe specimen, ripe melons work just as well

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