Summer watermelon is the best. It has such a delicious flavor, sweet and refreshing. But did you know you can enjoy that sweet watermelon flavor all year long? You can when you dehydrate watermelon at home. It’s easy to do. Read on for how to dehydrate watermelon easily. And grab the printable tutorial sheet at the bottom.
Below you’ll learn how to make the sweet treat of watermelon candy in just a few steps with only a few items too. If you’ve never had watermelon jerky you are in for a delicious healthy treat.
Because who doesn’t want healthy candy!
We tried making dried watermelon on a whim. We had so much delicious watermelon but knew it was going to go bad before we could eat it. So what to do?
Dehydrate it! It’s a great way to keep watermelon longer.
I didn’t even know if it would work, but it turned out to be a delicious watermelon taffy. So very good. We make it every summer now.
Is dehydrated watermelon good?
Yes, dehydrated watermelon is so very good. It’s dried fruit bursting with watermelon flavor and sweetness. Think of that delicious taste of watermelon condensed into a healthy chewy snack, that’s what dehydrated watermelon is like.
Let’s get started with what you need.
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What you’ll need to Make Watermelon Jerky
- 1. Fresh Watermelon, I like to start with a regular watermelon that is seedless. I hate dealing with the watermelon seeds. But a small seedless watermelon will work too. Use your favorite type of watermelon.
- 2. Dehydrator Trays, you’ll need dehydrator trays and a dehydrator to go with it too. I love my Excalibur dehydrator. I’ve had it for years and it works great. But I’ve also heard great things about the Weston dehydrator, and it’s less expensive too.
- 3. Airtight Container, any airtight container, like a canning jar. Add a desiccant packet to the airtight container to keep moisture away if desired.
- 4. Sharp Knife, I love my Victorinox knives.
Other helpful items…
Parchment paper or paraflexx sheets to line the bottom of your dehydrator to catch the watermelon juice that may drip off during the dehydrating process.
How to Dehydrate Watermelon (Step by Step with Photos)
1. Prepare the Watermelon
It’s best to start with a room temperature watermelon. Wash it in cold water to remove any dirt on the outside. With a sharp knife, cut the watermelon into large chunks and remove the watermelon rind.
Take the large watermelon chunks and slice them into thick pieces at least 1/4 inch thick to 1/2 inch thick slices. Try to keep the slices as uniform in thickness as possible so they will dry evenly.
Don’t cut the watermelon into thin strips because it will shrink down a lot. If the watermelon is too thin, it will crumble when you remove it from the dehydrator trays. It’s best to keep the slices thicker.
There is no need to add sugar, salt, or lime juice to the watermelon like other fruits when you are drying them.
2. Load the Dehydrator Trays
Once your watermelon slices are prepared, you’ll place the slices on the dehydrator trays. Be sure to leave a little room around each so they will dry well. Don’t overcrowd the trays.
3. Drying Process
Place the trays into the dehydrator and set to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Because watermelon has a high water content, the dehydration process takes a long time. The drying time for my watermelon candy was about 12 hours.
Tip: Prepare your watermelon and place it into the dehydrator before going to bed. Let the watermelon dry overnight. In the morning, you’ll have delicious dehydrated watermelon jerky to enjoy.
4. Let Cool then Store
For best results let your watermelon fruit leather dry until fully cooled. Heat can draw moisture, and you don’t want that. Let them cool on the dehydrator trays.
Remove the dried watermelon strips and place them in an airtight container. A canning jar works great for this. To keep moisture away, you can add a food grade desiccant packet.
Can you dehydrate watermelon in the oven?
The answer to this question is, maybe. Dehydrated watermelon has such a high water content it drys better in a food dehydrator. The even heat with the fan blowing really works the best.
But you can try adding your watermelon to a baking rack inside of a cookie sheet. Then run your oven to the lowest temperature with the door slightly ajar to let the moisture escape.
It will take hours to fully dry. If you have a convection oven, that would work better. But if your convection oven is like mine, the fan quits running when the door is a jar.
It would be best to invest in a food dehydrator if you plan on drying food regularly.
What does dehydrated watermelon tastes like?
The best way I can describe dehydrated watermelon is it tastes like watermelon, but the flavor and sweetness is intensified.
It’s like the flavor of a watermelon jolly ranchers candy. It has a sweet flavor to it.
The texture is like watermelon taffy. It’s a little chewy and stretchy when you bite into it.
It’s a healthy candy, you’ll love giving to your family to eat. It’s an all natural sweet treat with no added sugar.
If you are looking for something new to dehydrate, I’d highly recommend trying to dehydrate watermelon. Everyone who tries it at our house loves it. It’s definitely a unique natural watermelon candy to make and share.
More dehydrating tutorials for you…
Grab the printable version of the tutorial below…
- Fresh Watermelon seeded or seedless
- Wash and cut the watermelon into large chunks. Remove the rind.
- Slice the watermelon into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.
- Remove watermelon seeds if not using seedless watermelon.
- Place prepared watermelon slices on the dehydrator trays. Don’t overcrowd the trays, leave room for air to circulate around the watermelon slices.
- Dry at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12 hours. The length of time will depend on how thick and big your slices of watermelon are. Keep drying until the watermelon is dry and no moisture pockets remain.
- Once the watermelon is fully dry, let cool and then remove from dehydrator trays.
- Place fully cooled dehydrated watermelon in an airtight container for storage.