Watermelon Pickles

Watermelon Pickles

Margaret Gatons Schuck

1 lg watermelon rind (about 5 quarts)   2 cups vinegar 
7 cups sugar 1/2 tsp oil of cinnamon
2 cups vinegar  

Dice into 1-inch cubes. Blanch for 3 minutes until it can be pierced with a fork, but not overcooked. Combine sugar, vinegar and oils and bring syrup just to a boil.

Pour over rind and let soak overnight. Remove rind and re-boil syrup, pour over rind to stand overnight again. On the third day (I wonder if these should be made for Easter… no, too soon) pack rind into sterile jars, boil syrup again and pour into jars to overflowing. Seal and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. You may add green food coloring to tint if desired.

Margaret Gatons Schuck (1886 - 1968) and William Peter Schuck (1878 - 1948)There are many versions of this pickle to be found on both sides of the family but Ray Schuck thought them to be a comfort food that his mother often made. Kitty would make them in season and they would be part of the picnic choices at the family’s favorite lawn area in Henes Park in Menominee, Michigan. Ray was not especially fond of picnics but he loved those watermelon pickles. He would endure the crawling and flying insects while sitting in his informal sartorial splendor … this meant he still wore a shirt and tie but would roll his French cuffs up two turns. Afterward the five children would swing on the swings, take turns on the slides and later join Kitty and Ray on the large, family-size glider and enjoy the cool breezes flowing off the Green Bay.

Margaret Gatons and William Peter Schuck
                     m. 8 Oct 1908
Henes Park (Click to Enlarge)

Susan Rouse Schuck has a recipe they thought had been the Joliet version but none of her family liked them. That recipe seemed incomplete and parts may have been lost in the telling.

At SchuckFest 2001 I learned that Peter made the watermelon pickles, not Margaret.