Watermelon, Cucumber, Jalapeño Pickles

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Preserving Method: Water Bath Canning

1. Dissolve 1⁄4 cup pickling salt in 1 qt. water in a large bowl. Trim green peel and pink flesh from thick watermelon rind. Cut rind into 1-inch pieces to measure 8 cups. Add rind to salt water, adding additional water, if necessary, to cover rind. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 6 hours.

2. After 3 hours, dissolve remaining 2 Tbsp. salt in 1 qt. water in another large bowl.

3. Scrub cucumbers under cold running water. Cut cucumbers into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices to measure 6 cups. Remove stems from jalapeños; cut into 1⁄2-inch -thick slices to measure 2 cups. Place cucumber and jalapeño slices in salt water in second bowl. Cover with a thick layer of ice cubes. Cover and let stand 3 hours.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drain rind, discarding brine; rinse. Drain. Rinse bowl. Add drained rind to boiling water. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain; return rind to rinsed bowl.

5. Drain cucumber mixture, discarding brine and any unmelted ice cubes. Rinse cucumber mixture; drain.

6. Place pickling spice on a 4-inch square of cheesecloth; tie with kitchen string. Bring sugar, vinegar, spice bag, and remaining 1 cup water to a boil in a 6-qt. stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add rind and cucumber mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard spice bag.

7. Place 1⁄4 tsp. mustard seeds and 3 whole cloves in a hot jar. Using a slotted spoon, firmly pack rind mixture in jar, leaving 1⁄2-inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid over rind mixture, leaving 1⁄2-inch headspace. Add 1⁄8 tsp. Ball® Pickle Crisp to jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

8. Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat; remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

*Choose a watermelon with pickling in mind, making sure the rind is firm and bright colored, free of bruises.