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How This Chef Gets Creative For A No-Waste Watermelon Season With A Globally Inspired Recipe

| Suncoast Post Staff |

Everyone loves the juicy, sweet inside of a watermelon, but it’s time to think twice before throwing out the rind!  At Tzeva in Sarasota, Florida Executive Chef Ken Shiro Lumpkin is thinking outside the box when it comes to watermelon with a one-of-a-kind recipe for pickled watermelon rinds. His recipe is not only an acidic, sweet topping for dishes, but it’s also a reflection of his background. 

The flavor profile of Chef Ken’s Pickled Watermelon Rinds is sweet mixed with Asian influences. Chef Ken grew up in the south where they take “sweet” seriously, just like their iced tea. He cooks the rinds in the brine for longer so it’s syrupy. At the same time, the recipe has all the Asian aromatics he grew up with: ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, and clove. He also incorporates pimento (allspice) to reflect his time spent in Jamaica.

The pickled rinds can be eaten alone, sandwiched between Memphis BBQ pork and white bread, in slaw, as part of a salad, and more. At Tzeva, Chef Ken serves them as a topping for his Falafel.

Chef Ken’s Pickled Watermelon Rinds 


  • 2 pounds of watermelon rinds
  • ½ cup Korean apple vinegar
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup mirin
  • Cup water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • Large knuckle of ginger, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp allspice
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 3 Makrut lime leaf
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 4 each clove
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed


  • Peel the dark green skin off the watermelon rind, cut into 1/4” slices
  • Put all the ingredients, but the rinds, into a large pot
  • Bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and reduce liquid by 20%
  • Add rinds and cook until the rinds are translucent (about 45 minutes)
  • These pickles must be refrigerated

Photo from Tzeva

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