How to Dehydrate Watermelon (Watermelon Candy)

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

Summertime is prime time for watermelon. In fact, I can’t even imagine buying watermelon in the middle of winter that came from across the earth. It’s just wrong. So wrong. We eat as much watermelon as we can get, not only for it’s dietary contributions, but because it just tastes so darned good when it’s perfectly ripe and in season (but a mealy watermelon? ICK!). We invariably end up with watermelon fatigue, though, and need to find a way to store the leftovers in a way that doesn’t end up as a fuzzy science experiment in the back of the fridge.

Thus… watermelon candy. Sure, it’s just a fancy name for dehydrated watermelon, but of all the products we dry, this comes closest to being like candy, without all the preparation of trying to create  fruit leather blend, etc.

So let’s get started!

How to Dehydrate Watermelon

Pick a watermelon that feels really heavy for it’s size and is a good rich color. Expect to find a patchy area where it is yellow/brownish. This is fine – it’s where it was allowed to ripen on the ground instead of being picked early.

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

I love a good serrated edge to cut watermelon with. Some like to use electric knives, some like those plastic melon slicers they sell at the store next to the watermelons, some like machetes.

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)This is how *I* do it (or better yet my son!) I cut 1/2″ -3/8″ slices of watermelon, then do a quick cut around the inside to remove the rind. Easy peasy. I cut the discs in strips then cut the strips down into about 2-3″ pieces.

 

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

Then I set the slices on my dehydrator trays over the sink. This gives the pieces a chance to drain a little if they are really watery. Once done, I slip into the dehydrator and set it to 135F for about 8-10 hours. Of course, times may vary depending on the water volume in your watermelon, the strength of your dehydrator, the humidity level in your home, etc.  After about 6 hours, I turn the pieces over so that both sides can get an equal chance to dry. This is one fruit that I make sure to leave a little space between because there is a  lot of moisture coming out.

You can dry in the oven at 140F for about 15-20 hours. If your oven doesn’t go that low, you can prop the door open. I don’t recommend oven drying for fruit because it heats up your house, is dangerous to leave an oven door open for long periods of time, and ties up your oven for so long.

A helpful tip: Don’t make your pieces too thick. I slice them in half if I think they’re too thick. For me, the thicker pieces get spongy and gummy, not a great texture feeling. When done properly, your pieces dry into something like fruit leather.

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

I take the trays out of the dehydrator and lift off the pieces, but set them back down. Do you see the dark cross hatches in my trays? That’s here the sugars from the watermelon have adhered the tray/protector together. It’s not damaged, but it does let you see that things get a little sticky 🙂 It washes well in warm soapy water!

Let the pieces cool completely. I find that mine are always a bit tacky, so just storing in an airtight container can leave them stuck together. If yours are really sticky, you’ll want to throw them back in for awhile longer.

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

I then roll mine up in parchment paper, sort of like a commercial fruit rollup. You can use wax paper, too. Perfect little bit-sized pieces of watermelonny goodness, just like a piece of candy. To me, it is one of the fruits that gets and even more intense flavor after dehydrating.

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)Here’s the thing. For the purposes of this blog post, I forbade everyone in my house to partake of this goodness so that I could get pics. Rarely, and I mean rarely does our watermelon candy need to be stored for long. People keep sneaking pieces left and right. So I can’t tell you how long this will store for sure. We never have it around long enough to figure that part out. It’s suggested 2-4 weeks in storage, and that you can even freeze it (but I’ve never been able to).

Alton Brown has a few ideas of what else you can do with our favorite summer ‘gourd’. You heard that right…watermelon is a vegetable, too! Don’t believe me?

Your thoughts — what other fruit do you love to eat fresh from the dehydrator?

Tools you might need:

Excalibur Dehydrator or American Harvester Dehydrator  |  Parchment paper  |  Serated Edge Knife

101 Dehydrating Recipes & Tips from Mom with a PREP.com

Now…what to do with all that leftover rind….

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon Rind Candy

Watermelon Rind Jam

Mom with a PREP | Overloaded with the yummy goodness of watermelon this summer? Learn to make watermelon candy! (dehydrated watermelon)

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Comments

  1. Sarah says

    Those look great! Can’t wait to try them b/c my son LOVES watermelon! Have you tried watermelon fruit rolls? Just curious. My son loves it when I make strawberry fruit roll ups, but won’t eat strawberries in any other form…crazy kids!

  2. Rebecca says

    I will definitely be making this. I love watermelon, but no one in my house can help eat a whole one. Muscatine melons will be available soon (I live right where they’re grown) and I will be picking up some to do this with.
    My kids favorite is dehydrated strawberries. I slice them on my mandolins about 1/8inch thick and then dehydrate until thin and crispy. My kids eat them like candy. I often don’t even get the first 6-7 lbs from the dehydrater because the kids and husband are eating them faster than I can get them off. I then have to make more to be done when everyone is sleeping so I can get it out of the dehydrater and hidden before they wake !

  3. Debra says

    Great idea! Gotta try this! We made watermelon jelly and watermelon rind pickles last year! They were a huge hit at Christmas time!

  4. says

    Great timing. I was just cutting a small watermelon last night and wondering what to do with it all. I was going to make a Granita with it, but maybe I will do this instead!

  5. Dorothy says

    I dehydrated watermelon last year for the first time. I was slightly disappointed with it, as I was expecting it to retain the refreshingly sweet taste that I get when I bite into a nice juicy slice of watermelon. That said, once I got over that expectation, I really enjoyed my slices of goodness.

    I cut my watermelon by quartering it. That gives me nice flat surfaces on the bottom so that it doesn’t wobble all over the place. I also cut my slices into 1/4″ pieces, and those dried into nice watermelon “crisps”. I stored them upright in a mason jar with nothing wrapped around them. I had done this at the end of the watermelon season, allowing me to extend the goodness of the watermelon into the winter season.

  6. MJ Jeroue says

    I have done watermelon for a few years, to extend the life of my fruits and vegetables I use my Seal a Matic making small packets, adding an Oxy Sorb and storing in a cool, dry and dark place keeps my produce fresh all year. There is nothing sweeter then to pull home grown or area grown produce on a cold winters day.

  7. says

    Thanks for the great tips. Believe it or not, I hadn’t thought about dehydrating watermelon ’til now. Great idea! And, I agree: buying (tasteless) watermelon grown on the other side of the planet is “just wrong”.

    -Sally
    (Follower of Christ, homeschooling mom, homesteader, and blogger)

  8. Nanabee says

    I enjoy your articles and I especially have enjoyed reading about drying watermelon. We had a watermelon given to us and it’s absolutely one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Trouble is, it’s just the two of us and I don’t think we’ll be able to finish it before it starts to go bad. This just might be the answer! I do thank you for the time and effort you put into these posts. Keep them coming!

  9. Stacy says

    This recipe looks super easy, and it’s driving me crazy that I have to wait until I get home from work to try it! I do have one question, though…where does the water from the melons go? My husband and I just recently purchased our first dehydrator, a 4-tray Excalibur, and I read where you said you placed your watermelon slices on the trays over the sink to let the excess water drain, but once you actually get them on the trays and in the dehydrator, does the extra water evaporate, or does it drain under the dehydrator? I’m just trying to keep from making a huge mess! Any info and tips that you have would certainly be appreciated!!!

    • says

      You’ll see later in the post where I tell you the trays do get a bit sticky from the juice and the bottom of your machine may need a wipe out, but it’s not like you think. It’s just a little And most of the water just vanishes into the air, simply put. In the beginning, though, there’s a little bit of juice depending on how juicy your machine is, but I promise it’s not what you’re thinking!

      • Stacy says

        You’re awesome!!! Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I’m looking forward to reading more of your articles. Thanks for all your help!

  10. Eilish says

    Love the idea of this.
    Just a quick question though, do you think you’d be able to blend the dehydrated watermelon pieces to make a sort of watermelon powder?

  11. Lanette says

    Just put watermelon in the dehydrator this evening. Can’t wait to see how it comes out. Thanks for the article!

    • says

      Jen, if you have a seedless watermelon, just leave all but the biggest of the seeds. They haven’t formed the way regular watermelons have and work fine. However, regular watermelons should be seeded first.

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