We eat watermelon a few times a year, and usually throw the rinds into the compost pile. I figure that’s what most people do. But a while back I ran across the idea of pickling the rinds, and I was immediately hooked on the concept; I love the idea of using a quick, simple pickling process to render something that’s usually inedible into a delicious, tangy, and crunchy treat.

It might sound a little weird at first glance, but watermelon pickles have been around for a while. While in Germany and Eastern Europe they tend to pickle the red flesh of watermelon, there are a few Scandinavian recipes that focus on pickling the rinds. In the US, there are records of people making pickles of watermelon rinds dating back to the Civil War; those original recipes call for soaking the rinds in a salt brine, then boiling with sugar, vinegar, cloves, and cinnamon until clear and soft, which turns it into something resembling a sweet relish. I went with a Scandinavian approach, but left a little of the flesh on the rind in order to add a little natural sweetness to the pickle and to aid in the fermentation process (bacteria likes sugar!).

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During the month of January, my wife and I did the Whole30 challenge. The challenge is very similar to our current diet, but without any dairy, white potatoes, white rice, or sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. I felt great all month, but I did struggle with maintaining my weight (I’m a pretty skinny guy). In order to keep up a good amount of carbs, I spent a lot of time eating carb-heavy foods like sweet potatoes, parsnips, sun-dried tomatoes, squash, and plantains.

Of all of those foods, grilled plantains may have been my favorite. They were dead simple to make, and have distinct tastes depending on how ripe the fruits are. Green plantains have a dry, starchy texture and mild taste, while yellow and black plantains are sweeter and less starchy. While fried plantain chips seem to be the standard way to eat plantains in the Paleo world, I wanted to try out grilled plantains (admittedly, it was because I was grilling a lot anyway and I figured, why dirty another dish?).

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