With summer in full swing, now is the time to savor crisp, juicy watermelon. But what if you have an abundance of watermelon and can’t eat it all? Or when the season is over, and you miss the sweet, refreshing taste of watermelon?
The solution is straightforward: create dehydrated watermelon!
This complete instruction will teach you how to dehydrate watermelon and turn it into a wonderful, sweet dessert that you can enjoy all year. Let’s get started!
Why should watermelon be dehydrated?
If you’ve never considered dehydrating watermelon, you might be wondering, “Is dehydrated watermelon good?” Yes, it is a resounding yes! Watermelon’s natural sugars are concentrated when dehydrated, resulting in a chewy, candy-like delight that bursts with a rich watermelon taste.
Dehydrated watermelon is a guilt-free alternative to store-bought treats for both youngsters and adults. It’s also a great method to cut down on food waste by preserving surplus fruits.
Notably, dried watermelon is known by numerous different names:
- Jerky Watermelon
- Watermelon Candy
- Watermelon Taffy
- Chips made from watermelon
- Candied Watermelon Rind
Selecting the Best Watermelon
The first step in dehydrating watermelon is to select the ideal fruit. The quality of your dehydrated watermelon is heavily influenced by the fresh watermelon you begin with. If your watermelon is flavorless or mealy, the dry result may be unappealing.
When selecting a watermelon, choose one that is weighty for its size and has a deep color. A yellow-brownish area on the watermelon is normal; this is where it was left to ripen on the ground, showing it wasn’t picked too early.
Before we get started, it’s crucial to understand that dehydrating is not a precise science. The drying period can be affected by a variety of factors, including the brand of your dehydrator, the humidity in your home, and the freshness of the watermelon.
Here’s how to dehydrate watermelon step by step:
You’ll need the following tools to dehydrate watermelon:
- Cutting Board
- Serrated Knife
- Food Dehydrator
- Airtight container for storing dehydrating
- Mesh or parchment paper
- Using a sharp knife, cut the watermelon into 1/2′′-1/4′′ slices or pieces.
- Take the peel from the watermelon slices.
- Cut the watermelon slices into the shapes you like.
- Drain the watermelon slices on tea towels for about fifteen minutes.
- Place the watermelon slices on the dehydrator trays. You can use parchment paper if desired.
- Preheat the dehydrator to 135°F (57°C). Dehydrate the watermelon slices for 8 to 18 hours or until dry, leathery, and no longer sticky.
- After 4-5 hours of dehydration, flip the watermelon slices to prevent sticking.
If you intend to store the dehydrated watermelon, allow it to “condition” once it has been totally dry. Assume you intend to eat it within the following week. Conditioning is not required in this situation; however, keeping it in the fridge is advised.
How to Rehydrate Dehydrated Watermelon
Conditioning is the process of dispersing any remaining moisture evenly among dried watermelon segments.
To condition your dehydrated watermelon, do the following:
- Fill a jar halfway with dried watermelon, giving room for the pieces to move.
- For the next 5-7 days, shake the jar once a day.
- Look for evidence of moisture accumulation, clumping, or sticking. If any of these conditions occur, return the watermelon to the dehydrator for additional drying.
Putting a New Spin on Dehydrated Watermelon
Consider adding these ingredients to your fresh watermelon before dehydrating it for a distinctive twist:
- a grain of salt
- a dash of lime juice
- a sprig of mint
- a pinch of Taijin or any spicy seasoning blend
Method of Dehydration in the Oven
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate watermelon in the oven. Here’s how it’s done:
- Steps 1-4 from the dehydration process section should be followed.
- Place the watermelon slices on a cooling rack fitted with parchment paper over a baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 140°-170° (67°C) and dry the watermelon for 4-6 hours, keeping an eye on it to avoid scorching.
- Flip the pieces halfway through the process to avoid sticking.
- Prepare the dried watermelon. There is no need to condition it if you intend to consume it right away.
Dehydrated Watermelon Storage
For 3-6 months, store your dehydrated watermelon in an airtight jar. If you intend to store it for an extended period of time, wrap the dried watermelon chunks in parchment paper before placing them in the container. Because of the sugar content, this prevents the fruit from sticking together.
Other types of melon dehydrating
You are not restricted to watermelon! Cantaloupe, Persian melons, honeydew melons, and other melon varieties can also be dehydrated. All of these melons can be turned into delicious, taffy-like fruit leather that is ideal for nibbling.
Questions and Answers About Dehydrating Watermelon
While the process of dehydrating watermelon is simple, it is natural to have questions. Here are some often asked questions answered:
Is it possible to dehydrate seedless watermelon?
Yes, both seedless and ordinary watermelon can be dehydrated. Seedless watermelons’ little, immature seeds can be left alone. You can remove the seeds from typical watermelons if you want, but it’s not necessary. But the black seeds should be removed.
Which watermelon is best for dehydrating?
Summer watermelons are ideal for dehydrating since they are at their peak of flavor and freshness. Regular watermelon is preferable to seedless watermelon, but any good-tasting type will do.
How long can dehydrated watermelon be stored?
While dehydrated watermelon can be stored for up to a year, it is best consumed within 3-6 months for the best flavor and texture.
How does dried watermelon taste?
Dried watermelon tastes like a fresh, sweet blast of flavor. It has the texture of thick fruit leather or taffy but without the chemical aftertaste common in commercial watermelon-flavored candies.
Watermelon dehydrating is a fun and easy method to preserve this summer fruit and make a nutritious, sweet treat that you can enjoy all year. So, the next time you have an abundance of watermelon, why not try dehydrating it? It’s a terrific method to limit food waste while also satisfying your sweet desire in a healthy way.