Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dehydrated Watermelon Snacks

A few weeks ago, a status update from my friend, Crystal, hit my Facebook wall - she said she'd made some dehydrated watermelon snacks.

Say what??  I like dried fruit and I have a Nesco dehydrator (that I don't use nearly as much as I should), but I'd never heard of drying watermelon.

I actually tried to talk Crystal into posting about it, but she said something like 'what's there to write about it - slice watermelon. Dehydrate it. Done!"

And that's about it, too.

A couple weeks later, I got a seedless watermelon about the size of a soccer ball in our produce box, and ate some of it fresh but Michael doesn't care for it and at some point, I'd had enough to eat and still had a lot of juicy red melon left.

I remembered what Crystal had said, and decided to go for it.

I like my Nesco, because it is very easy to use - stack each tray - if you don't need them all, just leave some off, top it with the lid and set the dial according to what you're drying - it includes a temperature guide right on the lid for fast reference.

The fan that powers it is in the lid, but you can use it without power if you have a hot, dry place to just leave it, like a closed up car on a summer's day.  Vents in the stacked trays will allow dry, hot air to circulate through it, with or without plugging it in.

Obviously, the time it would take would be a lot more variable that way, but I'm curious to give it a try some time!

I cut my watermelon into 1" thick slices, and then sliced of 1/4" slices from those, filling each tray of the Nesco and then topping it with the next tray.  It wound up using all of them.  The thinner the slices, the thinner (and dryer) the dried watermelon will be.  if you want this to keep, you want it dry, not sticky and moist.

After it was filled, I topped it with the lid, set the dial for 135F, and left it alone for 8 hours.  By then, the top two trays were dry and finished and the bottom two still needed another couple hours.   This seems to be typical, since any moisture from the upper trays would drip down into the lower ones, so they're likely to be slightly damper.

The finished watermelon snacks were about as thin as a wonton wrapper, still pliable but leathery dry, and shrunk down quite a bit from their original size.

The taste was really vibrant - like other dried fruits, the sweetness and flavor is ramped way up once  the moisture is removed.

I popped these in a bag to store in the refrigerator, and have been eating them out of hand.  Michael even likes them and decided his distaste for melon was about texture, not flavor.

I think bite sized bits of this would be really tasty on a green salad with some basil, cucumber and feta cheese, but I'm mostly happy to have a light sweet snack with no added sugar.  A bite or two is enough to satisfy my passing sugar cravings.

I did this mostly on a whim, so I wasn't prepared but I want to do it again while watermelons are still available, and pickle the rind while I'm at it.  If I practice a little bit of self-control, I could then have an at-hand bit of summer to tide me over on wintery cold days.

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  1. I can NOT believe you can DeHydrate WATERmelon! It seems like you'd loose about 90% of the mass of the product! I'm so happy I found you on the Get Him Fed link party! I also host a link party that I would love you to come share on, The Yuck Stops Here. It is open until 8pm ET this Sunday on my blog Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos. I really hope to see you there. If you can’t make it this week, I hope you’ll swing by next week to share! HUGS

    1. *laugh* seriously, that was my first thought too - how could it possible work? I was prepped for it to be a giant fail, but instead it's just delicious!

    2. I'm so glad you joined us! I have pinned and stumbled this one and I hope to see you again next week! HUGS

  2. I'll have to try this. I love dehydrated apple. That's mostly what I use my dehydrator for, but maybe I need to try watermelon also. I saw a cool video on YouTube about how to slice up a watermelon quickly. The guy just made a bunch of cuts around the edges, the back and forth a few times and then through each layer. And then he was able to just tip it over and all these cubes just fell out. Pretty nifty. #SITSSharefest

  3. YUM! This sounds so good. I am a watermelon fiend and would eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. I just juiced a whole bunch of watermelon, but next time I might have to borrow my in-laws dehydrator! Thanks for sharing.
    I found you at Sunday Brunch :)

  4. Wow, I've never thought to do this with watermelon before. But I love, love, love watermelon. So I'm definitely keen to try it!
    Visiting from Sunday Brunch at Mums. xx

  5. I will have to try this! Son number three has several watermelons growing in the garden.

  6. Never though about doing this before. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links last Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)

  7. I love love love dried fruit. One of my favorite snacks. This sounds great. Thank you for linking at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you again next week.

  8. I love this idea, Linda and choose it to be featured at the Wednesday Roundup this week. Make sure to check back to see! Jessica

  9. I've never heard of dehydrating watermelon either but it sounds delicious! What a great idea for a healthy snack. Thank you for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop. Pinned and tweeted :-)

  10. This looks delicious! I really want to try this now! I'd love it if you'd be interested in sharing this with August's edition of Naturally Sweet Recipe Roundup. Thanks for considering! :) ~Aubree

  11. Congrats on being featured this week on The Wednesday Roundup Link Party! As an extra perk of being featured, your post has also been pinned to our party pinterest board! Come on by and check it out.

  12. This looks really interesting!

    I would have never thought of dehydrating watermelon pieces. Interesting ideas!

    I came over on the #Totally Terrific Tuesday link up. Glad to find your site~


  13. I normally don't choose recipe blog posts to read on hops or linkys, but dehydrated watermelon really caught my eye. I've never even thought of drying watermelon. Definitely going to have to try this one.

  14. Congrats! You are going to be this weeks feature on the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop. I would never have though to dehydrate watermelon!

  15. I have a Nesco dehydrator, but haven't used it much. Not the same model as yours, mine has the fan on the bottom. This is really cool to try. It would be fun. I've tried strawberries and apples so far, and they came out great.