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Concept Cooking: Watermelon rind experiments: Spoiler alert: they worked WELL!

 
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I bought a watermelon, it sucked. There was a bit of ripe in the center, but the rest was just bland. So I looked up watermelon rind recipes for inspiration for what to do with it. Recipes that I saw that attracted my head were: Watermelon Rind Chutney,  Watermelon Rind Curry, Watermelon Rind Salad (Moroccan Inspired), Sweet and Savory Chinese Watermelon Rind Pickles, and roasted watermelon steak. Anyone who has seen anything I have posted about food knows I absolutely did not follow any of the recipes :) What I got out of all that was use it like any bland crispy vegetable or fruit. So these are my experiments:

Experiment #1: I told them "you are a cucumber" :: rind, purple onion, rice vinegar, red cooking wine, olive oil, fresh garlic, dill seed, salt, black pepper. Marinating in the fridge right now.

Experiment #2: I told them "you are a crappy flavored apple" :: rind, butter, fresh ginger, anise, cinnamon, cardamon, raisins, juice of a fresh lemon. I'm cooking it down into pie filling, will check/tweak sweetness after it's cooked down. Edit: I added a bit of sugar, I had a bit too much lemon juice in it. added chia for thickening.

Experiment #3: I told them "you are an eggplant" :: rind, kala jeera (a spice that tastes like smoked cumin), caraway, cayenne, powdered porcini mushroom, salt. The rinds were tossed with the powders, they are marinating, tomorrow I'll roast them.

So check back tomorrow for the outcome of the experiments! I had to type this up now while I still remembered what I had put in them.
 
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Mmmm!

 
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wow, serendipity!! I also bought a dud watermelon last week.    the rabbits will be sad to know it is not going to be entirely theirs, lol. I'll be trying that curry!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Whoo! 3 out of 3 are good! :D
Only issue with watermelon rind is you have to account for how much water it will sweat off, or things get soupy fast. Might be worth drying it out before working with it, chop it and salt it, let it sit, or toss it out in the sun for a hour or so to dehydrate a touch. Not too long, unless you want ferment/flies/food poisoning. :)

#1 You 'd think I'd know by now to let it marinate before putting it in the fridge. The olive oil sets up, and the vinegar is left free to get too strong. I have done this to cucumbers, and did it to the watermelon too :) So marinate, shaking it every so often, THEN fridge it. If you forget, like I do, serve it on top of lettuce, makes it taste less strong, tell it it's salad dressing.

Added a bit of sugar and chia to #2, forgot that I had put the juice of a whole lemon in there (edited first post to add these) cooking it down more. Really good flavor!

#3 is in the oven with some other stuff to be lunch. I tasted the marinate before cooking it, no way that could be bad. Tasted it a few minutes ago, it did not go bad :) Other stuff is heating, then it's lunch, along with #1 :)

I can see it holding it crisp when stir fried too, especially the thickest part along the rind. You peel off the green, but the hardest part there would stay crisp when cooked.  I think if the crispy part was marinated in soy sauce or something salty, it would be a lovely addition to stir fry. Cheap knockoff water chestnuts we can grow easily? Worth trying! The softer parts is excellent cucumber look alike. Texture holds lovely when cooked, for fake apples that don't go to mush.

And my head says the harder part would cut into shapes well, and hold through cooking, which has some AWESOME abuse potential. Star shaped chunks in jam? Soaked in beet juice and used to decorate a dessert? Or soaked in cherry juice and baked into a cake as surprises for kids?

Final opinion on watermelon rinds: WELL worth messing with!!!

 
Pearl Sutton
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Sitting here eating my lunch. Thinking on this, my brain is running amok.

The differing textures in the layers is really neat, it's basically three totally different ones. That lets you pick how firm/crispy you want it to come out.

The texture bit is fascinating. Ever bought cheap muffin mix with fake blueberries in it? Chopped watermelon would fake it much better! Would fake a lot of things that are more texture than taste, or that can be marinated into taste. I'm really liking how well it held up to baking, could be put on top of cake batter and be in good shape when the cake is done. (Now my head is putting fresh flower petals on a cake, with artwork of colored melon too... OOOH.)

I have injected melons with high proof alcohol before (I had a misspent youth...) (I can just hear my sisters saying "HAD? Still ARE!")  Using the softer layer of the rind, marinate it in something strong and tasty (creme de menth, triple sec or Cointreau, limecello, or anything rowdy you have around) and it would make neat party snacks or drink garnishes.

It's really kicking ass in the curry type stuff, soaks up flavors really well. If I had been served this, and told to guess what it was, if it didn't have the bits of pink on it, I don't think I could guess. And I'm good at that game. I back recipes out easily by tasting them.

Watermelon rind, the great pretender! :D
 
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I love this! Now I'm inspired. Since your the resident watermelon rind cooking expert, what do you think of watermelon rind gazpacho?

Replacement for cucumber in cucumber dill salad or in Israeli salad?

Sliced on a sandwich?
 
Pearl Sutton
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Amit Enventres wrote:I love this! Now I'm inspired. Since your the resident watermelon rind cooking expert, what do you think of watermelon rind gazpacho?


The softer parts, I think the crisper parts might be a bit too crunchy, unless you like yours crunchy, I don't...

Replacement for cucumber in cucumber dill salad or in Israeli salad?


Definitely!

Sliced on a sandwich?


Probably a bit bland for that, unless marinated. What comes to mind is a marinate I did years ago, made carrots into pepperoni (my grandpa "I taste the pepperoni, I know you didn't put meat on this, and why did you put carrots on pizza?") something like that would be excellent on a sandwich.

Watermelon rind bacon!! <-- That "bacon" link isn't anything I put, I'm just theorizing on bacon. I have made eggplant bacon, watermelon might be a worthy try.

The cool part is you don't lose the crunch when it cooks, that's fascinating me.
 
Tereza Okava
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back in my vegan days we made a "loin" of watermelon and gave it a super quick pass on a hot cast iron pan, searing it like a piece of tuna. the texture was excellent.
hopefully tomorrow I will report back with good news after experimentation!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Tereza Okava wrote:back in my vegan days we made a "loin" of watermelon and gave it a super quick pass on a hot cast iron pan, searing it like a piece of tuna. the texture was excellent.
hopefully tomorrow I will report back with good news after experimentation!


We await your report!
 
Tereza Okava
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Drat!! the melon was bad when I cut it open!! (this is what I get for buying out of season watermelon. harrumph). Will report back on the next melon.
 
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