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The Bend Magazine

Love Your Larder: Pickled Watermelon Rind, Herbed Onion Marmalade, and Ketchup

05/10/2018 09:34AM ● By Kayla Butts

Words by: Justin and Kayla Butts  Photos by: Rachel Benavides

Larder is an old-fashioned word for root cellar or pantry. In the not so long-ago days when people lived from the land, the larder captured the bounty of the harvest. Crops would ripen all at once, and the sudden abundance would need to be stored or “laid by” to feed the family in future days after the harvest became a distant memory.

 However, preserving food has always been about more than survival.  In the dark days of winter when the forlorn land is covered in frost and warmth seems buried forever in the frozen soil, opening a jar from the larder is like opening the summer sunshine into your kitchen. All the colors, textures, and flavors of the harvest season are packed away in neatly stacked Mason jars, waiting to be enjoyed throughout the year.

On our farm, we have preserved thousands and thousands of jars from our harvest for our family and our farm business.  Kayla and our little ones lovingly fill these jars with everything from pork terrine to pickled beets to pie filling and much more. In lean months when the exhausted fields take rest, we eat and feed our customers from the larder. One year, we had so many jars stacked under beds, in drawers, and in closets that there was no room left for the clothes! The larder balances the flush and lean times for a sweet taste of the sun every day of the year.  

The modern larder is more about flavor and mostly about love. When your favorite fruit or vegetable ripens in the garden, you want to capture and hold that taste for coming days.  But more than that, nothing shows your family how much you love them than opening a jar from the larder. You will see it in their faces. This feeling can’t be bought at the store.  You have to make it.

These easy, fast, and versatile condiment recipes are three of our favorite larder starters. You can find the ingredients in your garden or from a good farmers’ market.    

Pickled Watermelon Rind has a sweet and spicy Old-World flavor.  It comes from the part of the melon normally thrown away—your new favorite part!  Herbed Onion Marmalade is the perfect condiment for pretty much anything. And we must warn you; this ketchup is so good that you may never use store-bought again. Make plenty!

These recipes do not require canning.  They will keep in the fridge for weeks.  To learn more about canning, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation (  Ball Mason Jars ( also has great information about pickling and canning.

The harvest is ripening in the field.  Prepare your jars. Now is the season to fill your larder with love.  



Pickled Watermelon Rind

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


2 lbs watermelon rind, green skin removed, diced

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup white vinegar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

1” ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbsp salt

1 jalapeno, diced


In a medium-sized pot, combine vinegars, sugar, salt, and cinnamon sticks over high heat. Once boiling, add watermelon, ginger, and jalapeno. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit an additional ten minutes or until tender.

Transfer to clean jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks or pressure can for long-term storage.


Herbed Onion Marmalade

Makes about 1 pint

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes


4 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced

4 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup white wine vinegar

¼ tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary


In a large pot, heat butter, onion, salt, and pepper over low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook the onions until they become a light brown color (about 30 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and continue to cook until liquid is reduced (about 15 more minutes).

Transfer to clean jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks or pressure can for long-term storage.



Makes about 1 quart

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 can (4.5 oz) stewed tomatoes

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp black or cayenne pepper


Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized sauce pan. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add remaining ingredients and cook until starting to simmer.

Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to clean jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks or pressure can for long-term storage.