Dried watermelon is definitely a US sort of thing but always on the lookout for variety in my snacks, I decided to give it a try. Out of all the fruit I have trialled through my food dehydrator, this was a real surprise packet. The end product ‘Watermelon Jerky’ as opposed to ‘dehydrated watermelon’, looks like dried meat when cut into strips particularly with the reddish colour. Taste wise the end result is a concentrated hit of watermelon flavour. While fresh watermelon has a calorie count of just 30 calories per 100 grams, the dried product has 346 calories per 100 grams. While this isn’t as high as other fruits such as dried mango the sugar just seems to be so much more concentrated and as such, you aren’t going to eat a huge amount in a short sitting. Having said that I find it almost impossible to stop eating Watermelon Jerky and almost cleaned up the batch in just over a single day.
This recipe is pretty easy to make but given that watermelon is 92% water, the drying time (hence the name) is extensive and takes up a lot of space in the dryer for a relatively small amount dried fruit at the end. The plus here is that watermelon is one of the cheapest fruits on the market. While everyone has personal preferences when it comes to snacks, I’m sold on this one and will definitely be including it as part of my hiking menu on longer hikes.
Preparing Watermelon Jerky is pretty simple.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Drying Time: 52-56 Hours
The end result for a 2.5 kg watermelon is:
Watermelon Jerky ingredients – watermelon, a knife and a dryer
Step 1: Remove the rind and green flesh away from the red flesh
Trays loaded and ready to go. Fresh watermelon takes up a lot of space so 2.5 kg of melon and rind is a good starting point
Watermelon after 7 hours drying – start condensing the fruit at this point
Dried Watermelon Jerky. I started with four trays and ended up with one. 1.9 kg of fresh watermelon flesh dries down to 160 grams of dried Watermelon Jerky
Different dried watermelon shapes. The longer strips work well
The end result Watermelon Jerky after 56 hours