Homemade Watermelon Rind Jam recipe a delicious jam made with watermelon rind, apple, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. So easy to make and it comes together without pectin! After eating the juicy red watermelon pulp, use the peeled rind to make this sweet, vanilla-flavored jam.
As summer turns to fall for us in Florida in the next few months, we will be exploring other recipes that use up waste to make some creative recipes. It’s a project we have wanted to share here for a while and will do so little by little.
I had come across this recipe in Sale e Pepe magazine this summer in Italy. They called it Confettura di Bucce di Anguria (Watermelon Rind Jam). Their recipe used double the amount of watermelon rind and even more than double the amount of sugar. I followed pretty much their same process, although they give detailed instructions on how to store it for up to one year.
Our instructions are to store it in the fridge. Also, their recipe states it makes 4 250 ML jars. Ours made one small (8 oz) Ball jar. Since we really loved this jam, next time we will double the recipe to make more!! One of the ways we used it was to mix it with a spicy pepper jam and served it on crackers with different cheeses and olives for a perfect aperitivo!
What ingredients are in watermelon rind jam?
- watermelon rind
- vanilla extract
Is watermelon a fruit or vegetable?
Here is some news for you in case you were wondering: Watermelon is a fruit that grows from a seed. It’s also a vegetable as it is a part of the pumpkin family. Watermelon is also harvested in fields like other vegetables!
How do you make homemade watermelon rind jam?
This is a really easy and delicious jam recipe. You don’t even need pectin and it just goes in the fridge when it’s ready.
Similar to the prep for our easy pickled watermelon rind: The first step is to peel off the tough green skin, chop up the white remains with some of the pink still on it. Next step is to add this to a large sauce pan with apple pieces, sugar, lemon juice and a little bit of vanilla. It all cooks down to a sticky and lovely mixture.
You could even leave it as it is in the sticky and delicious pieces or with an emulsifier carefully blend it all to a jam (you could also carefully add it to a blender and blend to a jam). It's safest to allow the mixture to completely cool down before emulsifying.
I, of course, did not have the patience to wait. I decided to emulsify while it was still too hot and I will warn you, it will burn you if it splatters on your hands. It's best to wait until it completely cools down.
The first step is to cut the watermelon rind pieces.
Next cut the apple into small pieces and you add them to a large saucepan with sugar, watermelon juice and vanilla extract.
Let it come to a boil and you lower the heat to a simmer and stir constantly. It all comes together without pectin (the apple provides natural pectin)! Such an easy jam to make and it is just delicious!
The next time I make this I will cut smaller pieces and not even bother to emulsify it. I think it would be just perfect with the larger pieces and it's also so pretty!! A perfect jam to spread on toast or to have even with plain yogurt (I love coconut yogurt!).
We give instructions to store this jam in the refrigerator. We don’t have a truly cool room where we could store things for a many months. We just love to make jams and can! We store most of what we can in the refrigerator. For more detailed info on canning instructions or directions, follow the USDA guidelines.
Some other easy summer recipes to enjoy:
Originally published August 2019 and updated on July 2021
One last thing…I promise.
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Your comments mean the world to me….and I really SMILE when I read them. Thank you so much! XX
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Watermelon Rind Jam
- 4 cups watermelon rind cut into small pieces
- 1 large apple peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- juice of one lemon *use 2 lemons if doubling recipe
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- The first step is to peel off the tough green skin, chop up the white remains with some of the pink still on it.
- In a stainless steel saucepan (or Dutch oven), add the rinds, apple pieces, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Lower heat and stir until the rind is tender and translucent (could take up 60-120 minutes…mine took about 1 hour).
- When it is translucent, remove from heat. Let cool down and carefully emulsify.
- Carefully spoon the jam into sterilized jars. Apply lids jars.
- Wipe rims with a clean, damp towel and screw lids on securely but not too tightly.
- Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove jars using tongs. Use potholders to tighten the lids. Place jars on a rack upside-down and let them cool. When they’ve cooled down, store them in the refrigerator. The jam should keep unopened for several months.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
We've loved making your watermelon rind jam recipe! A couple of questions about the process of boiling the jars- is this to help it last longer in the fridge? Any idea how long the jam lasts after boiling? Thank you!
Hi Jessica-So nice to hear you like the jam! Thank you! I always boil the jars to make sure they're super sanitized. I don't have a colder room to store and I store my unopened jars always in the refrigerator. I would say to be safe, unopened up to several months (in a colder storage type room or the fridge). Once you open it, try to finish within a month. Happy jamming!! xx
What do you mean by "emulsify"?
Do you mean put it in the blender?
Yes, either with a hand emulsion blender or a regular blender. Just make sure to let it cool a little and do it carefully.
Do you stir continuously for 60 minutes?
It took 60 mins for mine to become translucent and tender. I was also doing other things by the stove at same time, so the time passed quickly. It's so delicious it's worth the time it takes to make.
How necessary is the apple? Unfortunately don't have any apples in the kitchen, but I don't want to compromise the integrity of the recipe! Can't wait to make it!
Hi Sophia-I think it just adds an extra element of natural sweetness and can be fine without it. I've even seen recipes where they add sliced limes to give a bit of acid and bitterness. Let me know how you like it!
Turned out really well! Still have half a watermelon in the fridge... might try adding lime next time around!
Thanks for letting me know! I have half a watermelon in the fridge waiting to be cut up and plenty of limes...I will also try with limes! Super curious how the flavor will be 🙂 Happy Sunday, Sophia!
Marilyn Wood says
I would like to process this and put it on my shelves with my other jams and jellies. Would it last a year like that?
Hi Marilyn, I have only stored mine in the refrigerator, but check out the tips on the National Center for Home Food Preservation https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE01_HomeCan_rev0715.pdf . As long as it's done the safest way, I believe it should last.
Since this was sealed and in a hot water bath, can it go in the pantry?
I’m cooking it as I type- smells so good!!
Hi Betsy-yes, as long as you sealed it following the national guidelines (here's a good link https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/store/store_home_canned.html ) it should store very well! I don't have a truly cool enough pantry, so I store in my fridge. Happy you enjoyed making it!!
I made this this evening, but used just the watermelon rind, lemon juice and sugar. It came out beautifully!! I chopped the rind finely in the first place so didn't need to blend at the end as I wanted it a little chunky. I'm so happy with it! Will definitely be making it again! I think I'm going to give it to my mum for her birthday 🙂 xxx
Hi Hayley-thank you for letting me know! Great tip to chop it finely so you don't need to blend it. Awww...what a sweet gift for your mum! Happy Birthday to her! XXX
Gail Rahme says
Would it be possible to steam the watermelon peel in a pressure cooker then all ingredients and let it simmer, would it not be a much lighter color at the end? I am a time consumer person most of my cooking is done with a stainless steel pressure cooker.please advise
Hi Gail-I really don't have the answer for you. I can't say this method will work, as I never tried it. I can only speak for the way I made it, which is the directions in this post.
How does the watermelon rind and apple not burn? You all must be cooking this on super low heat. Following these instructions to a t has burnt mine twice. Maybe your watermelon rind is super soft, for some odd reason. Watermelon rind typically tends to be very hard.
Hi Christy- No, my watermelon rind was not super soft. When I make it, it's just a typical texture of watermelon rind. I lowered the heat so that it's still simmering and cooking up the pieces. If you lower it too low, it would never cook up. The sugar will brown if you don't keep stirring it (and so will the rind/apple pieces), so it is a lot of work to keep stirring it. You can never leaving the pan for even a minute. You could try the pickled watermelon rind recipe...it doesn't take a lot of time to put together and is also a delicious way to use up the rinds! https://www.savoringitaly.com/pickled-watermelon-rind/
Jessica Dotta says
This was lovely! My friend challenged me not to waste my watermelon rind, and I found your recipe. I made my first jam, did my first canning, and the smell in my house was amazing! It's going to be wonderful on biscuits at tea.
Hi Jessica-What a fun friend and an even more fun challenge. I'm so happy you enjoyed it. It is not the typical jam, and a lovely way to preserve a bit of summer! Thank you for letting me know! XX Lora
Vonda Jean McDougall says
How much water do I put in the pot? And do I shave off the green?
Hi Vonda-There is no water in recipe and yes, shave off the green (I added that in the directions as it is mentioned above in "how do you make watermelon rind jam") as it is very tough and you're only eating the white part of the rind (and whatever pink is on the white part).
Hello, first time making this jam. Mine looks more like apple sauce, not quite as red as yours. It only took 1/2 an hour for the watermelon rind to become translucent. I didn’t know how “large” the apple should be or how much I needed for the recipe so I fooled the generic weight of an average apple. I also didn’t know how much lemon juice I should aim to get out of one lemon (what is too much or what is not enough). I have my jars in the fridge now and am hoping for the best...not sure I did this right though.
Hi Monica-Depending on how you cut the rinds...I do explain "The first step is to peel off the tough green skin, chop up the white remains with some of the pink still on it." and you can see from my photo how much of the fruit I left on the rind, so maybe that explains the color difference. But I think even if it's not a bright color, it will still be delicious! I did mention large apple, which it seems you maybe found out, could be about 223 g (of course, every large apple will be different). As for fresh lemon juice, I used about 3 Tbsp of juice. Hope that helps! I'm sure your jam will be delightful!
Tonya Whang says
I Tripled the recipe and made it twice. First time, I didn’t purée it, second time, I did. Both turned out very well. I added bits of red watermelon and the red bits look so good in the jar. One thing to note, the rind did not turn completely translucent after 1 -1 1/2 hours, but did after I took it off the fire to cool down.
I’ll probably modify it next time with cranberries, or cinnamon and cloves, or mint. It’ll probably go very well with roast pork or chicken. So good and versatile! Thank you!
HI Tonya-thank you for letting me know you added watermelon bits in the jar (I imagine so pretty...you'll have to email me a photo!). OHHHH...love the cranberry idea! I think I'll have to do that as soon as I can get my hands on some fresh ones. So happy you enjoyed!! Have a great rest of your week! xx
Dan Newhart says
Growing up in West Virginia my mom would take the watermelon rind and cook it down added a cup of sugar and a little bit of vanilla and she boiled the green rind as well that gave it the green color, sometimes she would add a little bit of peaches to it. It turned out great!
Hi I like learning how your mom used to sometimes add peaches...I bet it was delicious!! Thank you!
For the person asking about apple I used a single serving of unsweetened Mott applesauce as I doubled and only had one apple taste delicious
Hi Krista-thanks for letting us know you subbed in 1 single serving of applesauce...great tip!
I have never made jam before - and although this is delicious- it is the consistency of applesauce. I’m wondering what I did wrong; if I should’ve cooked longer than an hour...?
Hi Shirlee-yes, it could take a full 2 hours (I do mention 60-120 mins) of stirring on low heat. Mine was ready in approx 60 mins. Hope that helps.
Christina Gray says
I like how ez and basic this recipe is. I added a few extra things that might intrest you all. I doubled the batch. I let it simmer with 3 vanilla beans which I cut in half and placed a half in each jar at the end. I minced about 2 Tablespoons of ginger and I added almost a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder into it.
Try it if you enjoy sweet and savory jams! BTW I also do this with all my fruit jams, including strawberry jam!
Hi Christina...thanks for the savory inspiration!! I can't wait to try your recipe out! XX
Leslie M says
Can you freeze this?
I have never frozen this jam, so I don't know the answer.
I must make this. Looks so good, all the other recipes I have found calls for canning salt and to let soak overnight, which makes it salty.
Hi Sue-Yes, I do hope you try the recipe...it's a keeper!! Let me know if you do make it and what you think 🙂 XX
My jam has been cooking for 1 hr. Lots of liquids still. Should most of liquids cook down more before it cool?
Can’t wait to taste it!
Hi Barbara, I do mention in step 2: "Lower heat and stir until the rind is tender and translucent (could take up 60-120 minutes…mine took about 1 hour)." So, yes...I would keep stirring and it will thicken up (could take a full 2 hours). Hope that helps!!
Can you pressure can to make it last longer and be able to store on shelves?
Hi Michelle, I have only stored mine in the fridge, so I can't say how it will go. You could check out the USDA website and see their suggestions: https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE07_HomeCan_rev0715.pdf . Hope you enjoy!
Very easy to make. I'll know how it taste after it cools. Love me some easy recipes.K
Hi Karen-Great! So happy you enjoyed the jam recipe!! X
I tried your recipe for watermelon jam and love it, so does my family keep up the great work, your awesome thanks!!
Thank you, Anna! So happy you enjoyed the recipe and for the lovely comment!
Bev lay says
I’m wanting to make a large batch. Like I have saved 2 large watermelons.. can you tell me how much I need to do this??
8 cups watermelon rind cut into small pieces
2 large apple peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
2 cup sugar
juice of two lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
Hope that helps!
I'm making this today. But I don't have real lemons, I have bottle of real lemon juice. Is this ok? If so, how much? Thank you. My daddy said his mom used to make it. But we couldn't find her recipe
Hi Christina-If you use a high quality bottled lemon juice, it should turn out fine. One regular-sized lemon contains about 2-3 tablespoons of juice. So you could try 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice. Hope that helps!
Where did you buy your pot you cooked the watermelon rinds in. I am in the process of making some now but I love your pot.
Hi Jane-I'm really not sure where it's from! My mom got it for me a long time ago...it's a Wearever 3 quart pot (hope that helps!). XX
Starlaine Hermanson says
If I water bath then, why do they have to be stored in the fridge?
If you water bath them, you don't have to store in the fridge. We opened ours right away and stored in the fridge.
I hesitantly tried this (hearing about using the rind and not composting it) and the jam was so good! Even my picky husband liked it!
I might just back off on the sugar some next time- that would be my only suggestion.
Thanks for sharing this!
Hi Really happy you enjoyed it...please let me know if you decrease the sugar next time, and how it turns out!! XX
Can't wait to try this! Will let you know how it turns out!
hi Juliet-GREAT...let me know how you like it! XX
Lazy K says
I got 4 1/2 - 8 oz jars. I had my rinds & apples cut really small. I didn't emulsify so it was more of a preserve than jam. I also didn't have large apples so I used 6 small apples. That may be why I got more "jam". My apples were really sweet so I could have used less sugar. But the results were delicious! The vanilla really added a nice flavor. Oh, and I water bath canned mine.
This would be a great filling for sweet rolls!
Hi -That sounds absolutely perfect to have it as a preserve. Really great idea to use it as a filling for sweet rolls! You could use this dough if you wanted to try it: https://www.savoringitaly.com/blackberry-buns-twelveloaves/
Let me know if you do! Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment.
Love this recipe! I used coconut sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey and it turned out delicious!
Evelyn Daley says
I’m going to make this right now. It sounds like a wonderful recipe. Thank you.
Hi Evelyn-Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind comment...you're going to LOVE it!