Recipe Friday: Freddie Janssen's Szechuan Pickled Watermelon

When thinking about things to pickle, the average person's imagination is probably fairly limited. You've got the chip shop favourites of onions and eggs, the burger's bff the dill pickle and - if you're feeling adventurous - maybe a herring. Watermelon? Probably not up there for most people, but Freddie Janssen isn't most people. She's a pickling queen who dares to dream. 

Freddie's summery pot of pickled joy

Freddie's summery pot of pickled joy

Freddie says; "A sweet and fragrant Southern pickle with an Asian twist. It works great with salty, meaty things like pork chops, bacon and charcuterie. Or eat it straight out of the jar in front of the TV after a long day."

Makes 1 x 500ml jar

½ watermelon
250ml rice wine vinegar
220g granulated (raw) sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
2 star anise
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick

First, prepare the watermelon by cutting it into quarters. Using a sharp knife, remove the tough green peel. Cut the rind into 2cm wedges, then slice the wedges into small bite-sized squares. Reserve the watermelon flesh for a salad, drink or just a snack.

In a large pan, combine 125ml of water with the rest of the ingredients. Place over a medium to high heat and warm through. Do not allow it to boil.

Add the watermelon rind to the pan, boil for one minute, then simmer for another five minutes.

Take off the heat and transfer the watermelon to a clean jar or plastic container. Put the lid on, leave to cool and then refrigerate. Once the pickles have cooled down they’re ready to eat. Store in your fridge for up to one week.

This recipe - along with Freddie's recipe for Party Quickles - appears in issue 31 of Oh Comely, available to buy here. You can read even more of Freddie's recipes in her book, Pickled, out now. 

Liz Seabrook

London, UK