As the weather begins to cool and the leaves start to fall, you may think watermelon season is over.

While that may be true for the growing season, this warm-weather treat can be preserved at peak freshness and enjoyed year-round! All it takes is a little creativity. Here are a few ideas:

Watermelon Pickles
Yes, you heard that right. Watermelon offers much more than the juicy inside. Believe it or not, the rind can be enjoyed in many ways, too. First, cut the pale-colored inner rind into 1-inch cubes and soak overnight in a mixture of 4 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Then make a syrup using 8 cups of sugar, 4 cups of vinegar, 8 teaspoons of whole cloves, 12 cinnamon sticks, and a pinch of mustard seed.1 Boil the mixture, let it cool for 15 minutes, add the watermelon rind, and cook until the cubes become transparent and delicious. Pour the mixture into mason jars, seal, and store.

Watermelon Ice Cubes
Great for smoothies and margaritas, frozen watermelon is a breeze. Best of all, it lasts eight to 12 months2 − right up to the start of next year’s watermelon season! First, chop the watermelon flesh into small cubes and put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Slide into the fridge and wait a few hours for them to freeze. Then transfer to a freezer-safe storage container (or bag) and you’re done!

Watermelon Syrup
For this recipe you’ll need a knife, strainer, blender, and saucepan. First, cut half a watermelon into cubes (removing the rind) and drop the cubes into your blender. Blend until smooth. Next, pour the watermelon slurry through your strainer into a bowl to remove any pulp (don’t worry if a little bit of pulp falls through).

You should now have about 2 to 3 cups of pure watermelon juice. Add the juice to your saucepan along with a cup of sugar. Put on medium heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once you have a thick watermelon syrup, remove it from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.3 That’s it! Pour your watermelon syrup into a bottle and stick it in the fridge. It’s delicious on ice cream, added into drinks (adult or kid-friendly), or drizzled over waffles!

1 “How to Preserve Watermelon,” Mother Earth News, accessed October 2020
2 “How to Freeze Leftover Watermelon,” The Spruce Eats, accessed October 2020
3 “Watermelon Syrup,” What About Watermelon, accessed October 2020