Watermelon jerky – not a very common snack you’ll think of making, but the taste and texture can surprise you. The recipe is simple, and all you need is a dehydrator (or maybe an oven). Here, I’m going to show you how to dehydrate watermelon into a tasty snack.
The process is simple – slice up watermelon into pieces and place them on dehydrator trays, load them into the drier and set on low heat. Let the dehydrator run for 12 – 18 hours for a crispy, chewy texture. Remove the dried fruits and store them in airtight containers as fruit snacks.
Is dehydrated watermelon good?
Dried watermelon jerky is not a very common thing. You’ve got to wonder whether it is a good thing to drain all the water and juice to remain with the leather or dry, crunchy pieces.
- Will drying watermelon damage its flavor? No. It will still taste great.
- The watermelon snack will be like concentrated fruit juice candy.
So, yes, after draining out the water, your watermelon will still be great for eating. The only difference will be the low-water content.
Watermelon fruit is known for its high water content and that’s what you’ll lose when you put it in the dehydrator.
How to Dehydrate Watermelon
It is super-easy to dehydrate fruits like watermelon. All you need is a few ready-to-eat melons, a dehydrator, some food containers, and you’re ready to go.
The process takes a bit long because of the high water content, so don’t expect it to be as fast as dehydrating vegetables like cilantro.
Here’s a step-by-step process of dehydrating watermelon fruit:
Here’s how to dehydrate watermelon fruit for storage and snacking:
- Cut up watermelon into 4 pieces (quarters) or just in big chunks.
- Remove the rind to remain with the bright red fruit.
- Slice the chunks into fairly thin watermelon slices (1/2 inch slices are great).
- Remove the seeds from the slices using a spoon (if it is not a seedless variety).
- Lay the slices on dehydrator trays under fruit leather sheets.
- Load the trays with watermelon slices into your dehydrator.
- Set your dehydrator’s timer to about 18 hours and the temperature to about 125 °F.
- Start the dehydrator and allow it to run for 18 hours.
- Store the dehydrated watermelon slices in airtight plastic containers in your pantry.
Cutting your watermelon in big chunks helps a lot when it comes to getting good slices. If you slice too thin, you’ll end up with crumbing pieces after drying.
You also don’t want the slices to be too thick because you’ll end up with a chewy, leathery texture after dehydration.
Pro tip: Instead of throwing away the rind, you can make pickled watermelon rind with it, which is very delicious. You may also want to place a paraflexx sheet on the bottom rack of your dehydrator, especially if it is the Excalibur type. This is to help catch any fruit juices that may drip from the cut watermelons.
Should I flip or turn the watermelon slices?
There’s no need to flip the fruits during the dehydration process. However, some people feel it helps get a fine, consistent texture during the drying process.
If you’d like to, flip the slices after about 9 hours so that each side is exposed for an equal amount of time for even drying.
Can you dehydrate watermelon in the oven?
The method I prefer for draining a watermelon is using a dehydrator. You really want to get the benefit of the fan, the specific temperature in order to get a fine texture after the process.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use an oven or even a microwave to dehydrate watermelon. Cut watermelon into pieces and lay them on the baking tray of your oven. Cook them at about 135 °F for 12 to 18 hours. Let them cool, and store them in airtight plastic containers.
A microwave might not get you the best results since watermelon has a lot of water and it will take forever to dehydrate it in the microwave.
What does dehydrated watermelon taste like?
A fresh watermelon can quench your thirst, hydrate your body, and make for a great ingredient for your smoothies. Some people also soak pieces of watermelon in vodka to make pieces that taste like cocktails.
Drying the fruit is the same thing as concentrating the sugar and its flavors. You’ll experience great sweetness in the way it tastes. In short, it tastes sweeter than the fresh watermelon.
Keep in mind, dried watermelon does not lose any benefits in terms of nutrition. All the vitamins remain intact. Only the water goes away!