With watermelon it seems I either get feast or famine.  One year I get just a few watermelon that really don't taste great at all, and another year I will have so much watermelon I get the urge to run the other direction when I see another one developing on the vine.  One year I had so much watermelon I kept some in my car at all times so I could give them away to anyone that was willing to accept it.

This year has been a year of feast.  I didn't even plant watermelon this year and yet I have watermelon growing in 3 beds.  I am guessing some seeds got thrown in the compost.  

The question is - What do you do with all that watermelon?  After begging people to take it last year, I decided to find a better way to handle my watermelon explosion.  In my quest to find a method of using all this watermelon I came across a young man at Homestead Heritage who was talking about how much he enjoyed dehydrated watermelon and how it tasted like candy.  I remarked that the books recommend against drying watermelon because of all the water.  He said "You have to try it and then  you will realize why it is worth the extra time in the dehydrator."  That was enough for me, I knew I would have to give it a try as soon as I got home to the 20 watermelons waiting for me.

Well, suffice it to say it was well worth the extra time in the dehydrator.  My faimily ate it up as fast as I could dry it.  It was like eating candy but it was fruit!  Wow, who could ask for more?

Okay let's get to drying this watermelon because it's gonna take a little time..............

What you will need -

  • watermelon
  • big sharp knife
  • dehydrator

I have experiemented with several ways to cut the watermelon for this project because that is the most tedious part.  I found that the easiest way for me was to simply cut the watermelon in half (note I have small round, not oblong, watermelons so it may not be the best way for  your watermelon).

Once the watermelon is cut in half I cut around the edges of the melon on the inside so I can basically scoop out the whole watemelon meat in a big chunk.

Once I have the chunk out I cut slices as thin as I can without having the slices fall apart. If I cut the slices too thin the melon meat just falls apart and you have tiny bits to work with.

Now remove all the seeds.  This is tedious but pretty easy to do once the watermelon is cut into slices.  I was warned not to leave any seeds in because once the watermelon dries the seeds are almost impossible to get out and no one wants to eat all those seeds.

Layer all the slices on your dehydrator trays.  I don't use the paraflexx sheets because the slices dry faster if you just put them directly on the plastic canvas that goes on the trays.  (More air circulation).

Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees and dry them until the watermelon has a texture that is not brittle but not sticky.  It will have a texture like a dry fruit leather.

Once the slices are dry you can vacuum seal them or just store them in a mason jar in a cool dry place.  I doubt, if your family is like mine, that they will last long enough to do much with them.

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