Watermelon jerky is a real fruit snack that will have your taste buds singing! Learn how easy it is to make in a dehydrator and oven.
What made me want to make watermelon jerky?
I’ve been trying to show folks ways they can save money to combat rapidly rising grocery costs and one of those is, of course, buying food at today’s prices and preserving it. With that in mind, I’ve done a lot of dehydrating videos lately. I really feel the dehydrator is an often overlooked appliance that can save every household money and freezer space! I’ve shown you how to dehydrate frozen vegetables, make your own instant rice (for pennies a serving instead of $1 a serving), and even how to make shelf-stable ground beef.
And now, for a real fruit snack that will have your taste buds singing… dried watermelon jerky!
I didn’t realize how well received the videos about the dehydrator would be, how many emails I’d get asking for more, and how many of y’all would actually go out and buy a dehydrator! Links to the dehydrators I have are at the bottom of this post. I do feel like this is a wonderful investment and an easy way for every household to preserve food with the lowest maintenance possible.
Although I can-preserve foods (click here for my tutorial), dehydrating and making things like watermelon jerky takes far less hands-on time and allows me to preserve things I wouldn’t be able to with traditional canning methods.
Why would you want to dehydrate watermelon?
Well, sometimes we may have a bumper crop! Sometimes we may find a good deal and want to preserve it. Sometimes we may just want to taste what dried watermelon tastes like. I highly recommend any of the above, especially growing your own. This watermelon jerky recipe isn’t even really a recipe, it’s that easy to make. Just cut up your watermelon, place the strips in the dehydrator, and walk away to let it work its magic (like you would a crockpot meal).
It is so worth the wait. The watermelon is so sweet and tastes like a watermelon Jolly Rancher, only better! It is slightly chewy like an easy-to-chew taffy and all of that wonderful watermelon flavor is concentrated in a way that you’ve never tried before. Trust me, the real fruit flavor and texture of the dehydrated watermelon make this such an addictive snack… you’ll be making it again and again!
How to Make Watermelon Jerky
To start you need to cut up your watermelon however you feel like cutting up your watermelon.
I slice mine in big wedges and then cut it apart from the watermelon rind.
Then I slice that wedge into thinner slices.
The thinner the better.
Cut those up into smaller pieces still.
Lay them out on your dehydrator trays that have been lined with parchment paper or fruit leather sheets.
Load up your dehydrator.
Put the door on.
Set your temperature for fruit (about 135 degrees) and your timer for Ten Forevers.
I’m not kidding. That is how long this will take. Most likely 18 to 24 hours.
When stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place like your kitchen pantry, the dehydrated watermelon will last up to 3 months.
Want to add some flavoring? For zesty jerky, brush the with lime juice before dehydrating. For spicy jerky, toss them in a dash of paprika.
How do you make watermelon jerky in the oven?
You want to prep the watermelon as above and then arrange the watermelon slices on 2 wire racks on 2 baking sheets. Bake at 250 until almost dried (about 3 hours). Then lower the temperature to 200 and continue baking until the fruit is completely dried (3 to 4 hours). You’ll want to flip the slices every 2 hours and rotate the pans to ensure even cooking.
Can I get watermelon year-round?
Watermelon is not only available in the summer. It is a refreshing and nutritious fruit that can be available all year round! The US produces watermelon typically from April through November. If you are buying at other times it is likely imported.
How can I tell if a watermelon is good?
While we’re here, let me show you how you can tell if a watermelon is good. You want a bright yellow underbelly. That means that the watermelon was ripened in the field. It should also be very heavy (so you know it is fresh and juicy) and has a dull thud sound when you thump it.
But be nice. Watermelons don’t like to be thumped anymore than you do!
Check out these other recipes…
- 1 watermelon
- Cut watermelon and remove flesh from the rind. Cut the flesh into pieces as close to 1/4" thickness as you can. Remove seeds if possible.1 watermelon
- Place on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135 degrees for ten forevers (18-24 hours) or until watermelon jerky is sufficiently dry and breaks when you bend it.
- Store in an airtight container.