Yesterday I tried something that didn’t work at all. And to make matters worse, I spent about 10 hours on it and roped some family members into the process.

I tried making candied watermelon rind. I was pretty excited because not only would this be delicious (surely, surely) it would also be frugal, repurposing a useless, maligned part of the watermelon.

So, I woke up at 6 a.m. and started chopping watermelon, peeling away the outer skin, storing the pink fruit in the fridge and cutting the rind into small rectangles. Then I brined the rind for 6 hours. And then my sister-in-law and her kids came over and we washed and rewashed the melon rinds to get as much of the brine off as possible. Then we began a long process of simmering them in sugar to make them nice and sticky so we could roll them in more sugar.

preserve the harvest



The problem is, watermelon rind pretty much tastes like cucumber. So no matter how much sugar you use, what do you get? Candied cucumber.

I would be up for trying this again with a different recipe, or attempting “watermelon pickles,” also made with watermelon rind. Or trying the same process with a different main ingredient. Orange or lemon zest. Or ginger.

And after failing, it’s often good to take stock of why something didn’t work. Did the brine not wash off? Do I just find this ingredient revolting? And it’s also good to think about what has been successful in the past, so that I remind myself that making use of the harvest is totally worth it.

Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger and carrots

Zippy and easy. The hardest part is peeling the ginger, but scraping it with a spoon makes it much easier. These are refrigerator pickles – no canning required.



No 10-hour ordeal required here. The most time-consuming part is peeling the apples, and you can skip that if you’re not planning on canning the sauce.

Crabapple onion jelly

This made use of a bucket full of crabapples from my friend’s yard. It had a strong savory flavor and was fantastic on turkey sandwiches.

Green beans

I love to blanch green beans I’m going to freeze. I’d heard cookbooks recommending blanching, but until I tried it, I didn’t believe the extra work really added much. But boy does it ever. Those blanched, frozen green beans tasted like they’d just been picked!

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After failing, it’s also good not to get stuck but to look ahead to the future. Here are some preserving recipes I am looking forward to trying:

pickled turnips

Pickled turnips

From the Wolff’s Apple House recipe archives!


Dilly beans

A recipe Nan Reinert of Chubby Pickle Farm shared with our friends at Weaver’s Orchard. It’s a great way to preserve the harvest, using your fresh herbs and beans!


Salsa verde with green tomatoes

My sister made this salsa verde using green tomatoes from her garden, determined not to let green tomatoes go to waste after pruning.

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Got a great recipe for candied watermelon rind? Or another way you love to preserve the harvest? Let me know in the comments below!

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