Thursday, August 11, 2011

harvest: watermelon rind pickles

Not much of a harvest, more of a reuse of materials otherwise destined for the compost bin: ran by the store and picked up another box of rinds, my second this summer, and packaged up another batch of watermelon rind pickles.

If you're new to this blog, you might not know that I've been making these for the past two or three summers, not sure now. This post not only gives you a visual breakdown, but it links to other posts with recipes, if you'd like to give them a go yourself. They're becoming a standard in yuletide care packages - especially for my dad, who kicked off this whole process by waxing reminiscent all the days of my childhood about one of his childhood favorites - his mother's watermelon rind pickles.

I love that I'm able to pair with a local grocery store and take these rinds off their hands (they are from organic watermelons cut up in-house to create fruit platters), as it helps keep my costs down (especially as the jars haven't been coming back, so I have to re-invest every year in those). I also bring the produce folks a jar from every batch as a "thank you," which they seem to enjoy. Yesterday, one guy brought me back to introduce me to everyone as they cracked open the jar and began digging the pickles out with their fingers. I have to say, I really am so in awe of the power of food to bond people together with ties of mutual goodwill; it continues to inspire and move me. I also got my first pickling commission. Part of me wonders - will I look back one day and say, "and the rest is history..." ?Link


Anonymous said...

Awww, that is so neat giving the watermelon rind pickles to the guys who gave you the rinds. We all need to do more of these things. And more of your recipients should return the jars. We need a lot more of the reuse/recycle/return attitude in our world. I used to get the men at the grocery store to save single bananas which are considered unsellable for me (I would pay for them at a reduced price) and I would make dried bananas. But they stopped doing that on orders from above for some silly reason.

fleur_delicious said...

I agree, anonymous! But sadly, this is why I am not naming the store that I am working with - because I know that in other cities, this chain does not allow people to take compost-bound things for free or even at reduced prices. Sadly, I think that in greener cities, the demand for items like this for reduced became so great that another store issued a blanket policy that put the kibosh on this kind of exchange completely, because their employees were having to use salaried work hours to sort and separate and save all the items that people wanted to get for free. It's too bad that there isn't some kind of economic incentive for companies that would make it worth the extra man hours for them to reduce their waste in ways that link them in personal relationships with their communities.