Updated: Feb 2, 2021
I love this recipe so much because its such a great way to use the watermelon rind we always toss straight in the trash! Nobody ever thinks to eat the rind, when in fact, it can be super delicious and nutritious! These candies are gorgeous, refreshing, healthy, and new! They're crisp and sugary on the outside, and soft and jelly-like on the inside! They're easy to make and only require 4 ingredients! I'd prefer these candies over store-bought heavily processed sweets any day!
Yields: ~2 cups
2 cups watermelon rind, peeled & sliced into french-fry like strips.
2 cups water + more for boiling
1 tbsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar +more for coating
1/2 a lemon worth of lemon skin, sliced into wedges
A food thermometer (optional)
A small saucepan
a wire cooling rack
1. In a sealable container, combine the watermelon rind that you've peeled the green skin off of and sliced into strips, the 1 tbsp salt, and the 2 cups water (room temp). Stir to combine and set in the refrigerator overnight to rest. Optionally, if you're low on time, you can reduce the amount of time they soak or omit this step entirely (although, it is not recommended).
2. In a colander, rinse the salt water off the watermelon rind, place them in a pot along with the lemon skin, and fill the pot with enough water to cover everything. Bring the pot to a boil then let it gently boil for 1 hour. Be sure to monitor it and stir it every so often.
3. When the hour is up, reserve 1 cup of the boiling water, then drain the rind and lemon skin in a colander. Place a piece of parchment paper over a wire cooking rack and set it near your stove so it's in reach for later.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the 1 cup reserved boiling water and 1 cup of sugar on medium heat. Once the mixture is boiling and the sugar has been dissolved, add the watermelon rind and lemon skin. Continue to monitor is as it boils, but don't stir it.
5. If you have a candy thermometer, the goal is to get your sugar syrup to the "soft ball" stage (250 degrees Fahrenheit). If you don't have a thermometer, you can test your syrup periodically by placing a drop of it into a glass of cold water. If it forms a soft, malleable ball, it's ready. This can take some time, so be patient.
6. Turn off the heat and transfer the watermelon rind pieces, one by one onto the parchment paper when the syrup is finished. In my opinion, its easiest to use a pair of chopsticks for this step. Make sure they're all spread out and let them dry for ~3o minutes, or until they can be handled, but are still slightly sticky to the touch.
7. In a shallow container of granulated sugar, coat each watermelon rind piece and place them back on the parchment to dry for 1 hour more. At this point, your candies are finished, but I like to keep them out to dry for a few hours more before storing them, or you risk them sticking to each other in the container. Before storing, they shouldn't be floppy and they should make a light "clink" sound when you tap one onto the rim of a glass jar. Enjoy!
Feel free to comment below or reach me on Instagram @eats.by.eli if you have any questions, if you have made this recipe, and if so, what you thoughts were! Best wishes!