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Pickled Watermelon Rind

['4 pounds watermelon', '1 serrano chile, thinly sliced, seeds removed if desired', '1 1" piece peeled ginger, thinly sliced', '2 star anise pods', '4 teaspoons kosher salt', '1 teaspoon black peppercorns', '1 cup sugar', '1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar']

Using a vegetable peeler, remove tough green rind from watermelon; discard.
Slice watermelon 1" thick. Cut away all but 1/4" flesh from each slice; reserve flesh for another use. Cut rind into 1" pieces. (You should have about 4 cups.)
Bring chile, ginger, star anise, salt, peppercorns, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Add watermelon rind and return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool, setting a small lid or plate directly on top of rind to keep submerged in brine, if needed.
Transfer rind and liquid to an airtight container; cover and chill at least 12 hours.
Do ahead: Watermelon rind can be pickled 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.

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