August 25, 2010

How 'Bout Them Watermelons

Our Sugar Baby watermelons have done beautifully this year. We've had juicy sweet watermelons to eat almost daily, and to give away to family and friends. Eventually though, we had a few too many, so I decided to dehydrate some.

Dried watermelon is something like fruit leather: sweet, sticky, chewy; probably about the closest thing there is to a natural candy. It's a real treat if you're a watermelon lover with a sweet tooth, or a kid.

It's a great thing to do with over- or under-ripe melons. The hardest part is getting out all the seeds.


I cut it into slices between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.  The thinner they are, the less drying time they require.  My Excalibur sets the drying time for fruit and fruit leathers at 135° F.  Because watermelon has such a high moisture content however, my quarter slices took a couple of days to reach the desired stiff but slightly pliable, leathery texture, like the photo on the left below.


What's going on in the photo on the right?  Well, our humidity has been so high, that the finished, dried pieces quickly get soggified if left out!  I had to re-dehydrate several traysful.

In fact, I did that a couple of times.  In the end, I took the finished, cooled pieces, and layered them in a container between wax paper, and put them in the freezer.  A tad frustrating, I admit.

I figured there was no sense in staying frustrated about it though, so I consoled myself with....


Care to join me?

How 'Bout Them Watermelons © 25 August 2010 

17 comments:

The Mom said...

That looks so yummy! No watermelons here yet. If it ever stops raining, I'll go and see if there is one hiding somewhere.

Theresa said...

Yep, those are some melons! ;)

Woolly Bits said...

hmmm, they look delicious - can you send one over?:)) I can't grow them here, not enough sunshine/heat, and the stuff they sell in the shops is unripe and yucky:((

Mother's Moon's Message said...

gorgeous melons.. I envy you having them so readily available. How nice that must be... enjoy a little for me.

Nina said...

Nice treat.. Watermelon is a wonderful treat on a hot summer day. I've never been able to grow them though. Our season is too short and generally not warm enough. Summer is almost over here :(

Benita said...

Care to join you? Are you kidding? I LOVE watermelon! Can you send one to me? Just kidding, but they do look great!

Leigh said...

Heather, I hope you find one!

Theresa, I was surprised at how big some of that got, considering they're supposed to be small. No complaints though.

Bettina, it's on it's way! :) Where are your melons imported from?

Mother Moon, I do feel fortunate. And I'll pass some of those good enjoyment vibes on to you.

Nina, they do love heat. I'm amazed they have produced for so long actually. And still flowering.

Benita, come on down! :)

Scented Leaf said...

I love watermelon, too. Your melon looks delicious. I've blogged about my watermelon jelly at http://scentedleaf.blogspot.com/2010/08/homemade-watermelon-jelly-with-rose.html

Bubbles, Madness and Trouble said...

Wow, you did a really good job growing sugarbabies. The are pretty much susceptible to every disease known to man, but your are beautiful. I also like them a lot.

Woolly Bits said...

I wish - I am going to keep a lookout for a large dropping smelling parcel with a rotting melon inside so:)) but thanks for the thought.... I think usually watermelons here come from greece (when in season) or from israel = not really green, because of the extreme transport costs:(( and of course this distance is the reason they are picked unripe.

Leigh said...

Scented Leaf your recipe looks like one to try! I need to track down some rose geranium and if we like the jelly, I'll add it to my list of things to grow. :)

BM&T, I didn't realize they were difficult to grow :o I've had enough trouble with some other things that I'm especially thankful about them now.

Bettina, I think you're right, they do pick too early because of transportation. We have the same problem, especially in winter, when our fresh fruits and veggies come from California, Florida, and Mexico. And as you say, transportation really hikes up the cost. I think that's why more and more people are gravitating toward the "locally grown" trend. Of course that can limit one's diet, but in the end it may be the wisest choice for many of us.

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

I had no idea you can dehydrate watermelons!! Cool. All of ours have shriveled up and decayed. We did have one or two small ones growing, but the pig got into the garden yesterday and devoured them all. I'm afraid I won't get a single watermelon from my garden this year!!

Blue bird said...

Hello Lee! wonderful post! Those watermelons are the real once, but in out area they bring other kind: with strips, expensive and not as sweet as those what you have there!
Welcome to my followers, I also clicked to follow you! Love: Julia/BB:)

Marie said...

Oh, the watermelons look delicious. We have not had one this summer.
Love,
Marie

bspinner said...

Yummy!!!!! The watermelons sure do look good!!!

Leigh said...

Kendra, the ones of mine that are left are getting to be like that too. I hadn't thought about feeding them to a pig! I'll have to remember that. Folks also tell me dehydrated cantaloupe is good too.

Julia, I agree with you about those bigger stripped watermelons. Not so tasty as the Sugar Babies. I think too, that ones sold in stores are often picked too early to withstand transportation. It's great being able to grow them!

Oh Marie, I'd send you one if I could!

Barb, they are!!!! :)

Robin J. said...

I've never had dried water melon before. It makes me want to try it now.