- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2011

When it comes to creative ways to consume watermelon, we tend to shortchange ourselves.

There is the classic feta cheese, tomato and watermelon salad. There are various riffs on lemonade spiked with pureed watermelon. And, of course, there are innumerable variations on traditional fruit salad. But we wanted something more unique, more interesting.

Which, oddly, took us back to tradition. In some parts of the country, pickled watermelon rind is a staple. But in most of the U.S., the rind is just nature’s way of adding a handle. So we started there. Then we moved on to the sweet, juicy flesh, transforming it into a pudding fit for a tart.

Finally, we blended orange and elderflower liqueur with vanilla to create a delicious syrup for marinating strawberries and watermelon.

SWEET WATERMELON RIND RELISH

This recipe calls for watermelon rind with the thin outer dark green skin removed. The easiest way to do that is to use a paring knife to cut away the red flesh, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

4 cups watermelon rind, green skin removed, cut into ¼-inch chunks

1½ cups sugar

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cinnamon sticks

2-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

On a 6-inch square of cheesecloth, combine the cloves and allspice. Tie the cloth into a bundle.

Story Continues →