Watermelon Rind Candies

Watermelon Rind Preserves or Candies


I’m reposting this recipe as a reminder to save the rinds from this summer’s watermelons and turn them into watermelon rind preserves or these wonderful watermelon rind candies! I made some last week before leaving on vacation because I wanted to take them to the woman that inspired this recipe. The smile on her face told me that I did good. :)


In my watermelon post a while back I mentioned that my mother saved the watermelon rind and made watermelon rind preserves.  After we all finished off the watermelon, she would cut away any remaining pink from the rind, peel the rind, then slice it into spears. All of the rind spears were transferred to a big pot and layered with sugar, then left to sit overnight. The next day she cooked them down “until done”.  :)  After they cooked I helped her pack the spears lengthwise into sterilized mason jars and then seal the jars.  By fall we had enough watermelon rind preserves to last the winter and then some.

Eating her watermelon rind preserves was like eating a crunchy, sweet stick of candy.  It didn’t really have a watermelon flavor, but it had a clean, sweet taste that is very hard to describe.  All I know is those preserves were really, really good, very, very sweet, and hard to stop eating. A couple of years ago I decided to come up with my own way to preserve watermelon rind but in smaller pieces and less sweet, if possible. My efforts paid off!  These little candies turned out exactly like I wanted – small, crispy bites of sweetness with a touch of anise flavor. So good, so addicting!

Watermelon Rind Preserves or candies recipe



Kitchen Notes

You can cut the pieces into larger strips if you choose, but you will have to cook it longer and add a touch more water for the rind to cook through and become translucent.

The cooking process – Once the watermelon rind becomes translucent, it’s pretty much ready.  At this point the syrup should have reduced by at least half and become thick. If your syrup is still too thin, then turn up the heat and cook it faster, stirring constantly until the syrup thickens into a heavy syrup.  The candies don’t need to be covered by the syrup when transferred to a jar.  For me, once the rind is transferred, the syrup only comes about halfway up the jar.

The spice – If you aren’t a fan of star anise, then omit it altogether or replace it with a large cinnamon stick or 5 cardamom pods.   My mother likes this best with no spice, whereas I like the star anise flavoring.

As far as how to use it – it’s candy!  Just eat it like you would a piece of candy. Serve as an after dinner sweet, or afternoon snack. I usually just eat them straight out of the jar when I want a little something sweet.  You could also fold into cake, muffin or cupcake batter, or bread recipes that call for candied fruits.

These Watermelon Rind candies comes with an ADDICTION WARNING!


These watermelon rind candies were shared with the following blog hop.

Whimsy Wednesdays, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Creative Thursday, Frugal Foods Thursday, Carole’s Food on Friday, Foodie Friday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, Hearth & Soul  .


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94 Responses to “Watermelon Rind Candies”

  1. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles September 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    MJ, this is just so wonderful – I’ve never heard of watermelon rind candies before! I love how you’ve transformed something that normally ends up in our compost (or trash cans) into such a beautiful, edible form. What a brilliant idea; I must remember this one! Your picture is lovely in its simplicity. Great background too.

    • mj September 25, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      Thanks Kelly! It’s amazing what we can do with some of the things we compost or throw away. BTW- the background for the pictures is a cardtable leaning against the couch. :) Thanks for the compliments!

  2. Zsuzsa September 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I keep coming back to look at these photos… Be prepared for a lot of us copying this recipe.

  3. Suzi September 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    What a cool recipe MJ. Definitely going to try this one. I love how you styled them in the martini glass. Have a lovely week.

  4. wok with ray September 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Imagine how much of those rinds we wasted and not having a good use? Finally I found a good recipe for the watermelon rinds. Thank you, MJ! :)

  5. Sharon | Chinese Soup Pot September 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi MJ, this recipe is very interesting for me to see…because the Chinese also have a version of sweetened preserved watermelon candies. But I want to say that the candy is made out of the meat rather than the rind….I not completely sure but I remember the candies were soft, not crunchy. Either way, I enjoyed reading this recipe post. I hope your kitchen remodeling is going well!

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Thanks Sharon! I didn’t know about Chinese preserved watermelon candies. I can see that if it were made from the meat, that it would be soft. With the rind, it really stays crispy even though you cook it down. The remodeling is going! Hoping we’re in the last week of it! :)

  6. Dara September 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    This is so interesting! I had no idea you could turn the rind into candy. You are brilliant MJ.

  7. Nisa Homey September 24, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I had no idea, that water melon rinds could be candied…I am trying this as soon as watermelons hit the markets….still wish I could have a bite…and yeah I would love the star anise flavour..MJ your picture is sooooooo tempting.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks Nisa! Let me know how you like it!

  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 24, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I’ve seen watermelon rind recipe this summer and I was really excited. I’ve never seen a recipe like that in Japan. Besides composting use, poor watermelon rind will never get reused. This is going to be kept for next year and I’d love to make it. Sounds fun and eco-friendly. :D Well I just simply want to taste this…. looks pretty too, MJ!

    • mj September 26, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks Nami! It was wonderful being raised by a frugalista because I learned to through nothing away! :) I know I was a little late with this, but hopefully you’ll get a chance to make it next year.

  9. CJ at Food Stories September 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    How interesting … Never even heard of this before :-)

  10. Sanjeeta kk September 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This is absolutely amazing, MJ! We make curry with watermelon rinds in Rajasthan India..but turning them into something sweet is something I will treasure for long. These look so glossy and delicious..can;t wait to make it soon.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks Sanjeeta! Now I’ve learned something new. I’ve never heard of watermelon rind curry! I guess you’ll need to make us one. :)

  11. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb September 24, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    That’s an excellent idea. my grandmother used to always tell me that everything should be used and nothing wasted. I guese even she never thought of makign preserves out of watermelon, but then watermelon isnt that much common in central europe.

    Do you think those could be used in cakes? I have a recipe with preserved fruits, but we dont get preserved fruits that much here, so I thought it would benice to recreate your recipe sometime and make my own.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Helene – yes, the preserved rinds can be used in cakes. As my sister reminded me in the previous comment, my mama use to put them in her fruitcakes during the holidays. That’s interesting that you don’t see watermelon much in Europe. Thanks for your great comments!!

  12. Nads September 24, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Do you remember the call of the watermelon vendors as the roamed the streets in Waterside? “WAAAAATERMELONS! Ripe and fine. Eat the meat and preserve the rind.” Mama also used watermelon preserves pieces in her holiday fruitcakes. Mama’s could change anyone’s mind about not liking fruitcake. Glad to see that you are carrying on her tradition with your preserves.

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks Nads! I guess I was to young because I don’t remember the watermelon vendors. I love that so THANKS for sharing it! And thanks for reminding me about the fruitcakes. DUH! I knew that! :)

  13. Katerina September 24, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    They look like transparent gems in a glass! So beautiful!

  14. Judy @Savoring Today September 24, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    What a fun way to use something that would ordinarily go into the trash–quite smart.

  15. Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats September 24, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Oh this is really interesting. I tend to either eat the fruit or drink the juice. As much I want to make into sorbet or something, my family tends to prefer it as a fresh fruit. I must give this a try, and who knows they might change their mind. I am intrigued right now :). Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks Joanna! We like our fruits in many form, so watermelon rind candies aren’t really a stretch for us. I hate having to compost the rind because it attracts the neighborhood racoons, so the candies are a great solution!

  16. Angie@Angie's Recipes September 24, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    This is a genius idea! I love watermelon pickles, but never thought of making candies from them. Brilliant!

  17. Raymund September 24, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Starting today I will keep watermelon rinds, this is a great kitchen tip.

  18. Julia September 24, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Such a pretty picture!

  19. Tania @ A Perfect Pantry September 24, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    I just love this idea… better than throwing away the rind.

  20. Mary Hudak-Colllins September 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    OMG! This sounds absolutely wonderful!! I wish I had known this before most of our large watermelons were gone, but that is okay…I will have this to try next summer, that is if I don’t come across a good-looking watermelon before fall :)

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks Mary! I’m hoping to find a watermelon somewhere next week so I can make another jar. I finished off the one I made a couple of months ago. :)

  21. A Brown Table September 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I had no idea that watermelon rinds could be candied. I am definitely saving this recipe!

  22. Anne@FromMySweetHeart September 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    MJ! What a unique recipe. I’ve never tried watermelon rind but I love that you assign indescribable qualities to it! I’m really intrigued. That’s how I feel about cardamom…no matter what I use it for, it always lends a flavor that no one seems to be able to put their fingers on! These sound pretty addictive! When do we get to see the new kitchen? I’m dying here! : )

    • mj September 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks Anne! Yes – cardamom flavor is next! I am really keeping my fingers crossed that I’m moving into my new kitchen this weekend!!! They are laying the flooring now and the schedule this week is packed to get me there. It will have been 6 weeks on Friday and I’m going nutsy coocoo!!! :) :) Hopefully I’ll have pics on Monday.

  23. Debra September 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Ooh—cardamom would be awesome.

  24. Ramona September 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    What a fantastic idea! I love how you used all of the watermelon up… gorgeously done. Hope your weekend was fantastic! Have a great week ahead my friend. :)

  25. Carolyn Jung September 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed pickled watermelon rind, but never a candied version. Oooh, I bet this is addicting.

  26. Sylvia@Peaches and Donuts September 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I only recently found out about watermelon rind pickle and now there’s also watermelon rind candies? how intriguing!

  27. Choc Chip Uru September 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    These little candies are incredible my friend, what a beautiful treat :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  28. Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love September 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Your pictures are GORGEOUS, MJ!!! So lovely. I might have to get a hold of one more watermelon to give this a shot.

  29. Jane September 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Your picture is very pretty :) I made watermelon rind pickles once before and I did not like them! Watermelon rind candy though? That sounds so good! Hope the kitchen remodel is going well!

  30. Tessa September 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Hey MJ! I can’t even count how many times I’ve composted or thrown the watermelon rind away… I am definitely going to try this. Thank you!


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