pink sugar

I recently bought a huge watermelon (my girls made me do it 😉 ) and realized once home that there was no room in the refrigerator. Crammed full with farmers’ market produce and gifts of food from our neighbor, our fridge was no place for a 20-pound watermelon. What had I been thinking?

Figuring it would store more easily sliced, I cut wedges for supper and was ready to bag the rest. But as I slid slices into a large ziploc, I remembered our dehydrator.

Pre-kids, I used to dehydrate large quantities of Roma tomatoes. The seeding and slicing took time, but once the slices were on the dehydrator trays, it was a simple 24-hour wait for sweet tomato “chips.” I loved watching five-plus pounds of tomatoes shrink down to fit into a quart-size plastic bag and I could easily polish off this amount in one sitting (had the canker sores to prove it). Sweet and tangy, with just a slight chew, these tomatoes were worlds apart from the sun-dried tomatoes available in grocery stores. These dried tomatoes were pure gold.

Post-kids, the dehydrator comes out only once a summer or so and rarely for tomatoes. The prep is just too much. But drying watermelon is an easy task. I’ve enjoyed the results the few times I’ve tried it and realized that THIS was the answer to my storage problem.

The watermelon was sliced and laid on dehydrator trays that had been sprayed with cooking spray. (I learned the hard way that cooking spray makes for easier cleanup.) Fast forward 24 hours and I had amazing fruit leather-like watermelon chews. I prefer this homemade dried watermelon to the fresh stuff as it’s pure watermelon flavor–no water to dilute. The texture is slightly dry and slightly sticky; there’s a “chew” you won’t find in storebought fruit leathers. I gave a few slices to a colleague who loved it and gave me the title for this post. (Thanks, Megan!)

in the beginning

sliced and ready to dry

about 10 hours in

all dried up

watermelon leather

Postscript: My husband, like many men, enjoys tinkering. His “tinker” tonight was to put a slice of dried watermelon in the freezer. Five minutes later it was crispy and brittle–entirely different from what it was and very candy-like. I picture shards of frozen dried watermelon sprinkled over vanilla ice cream. Classy and fun.

9 thoughts on “pink sugar

  1. Pingback: the watermelon saga continues | food for fun

  2. Pingback: a new kitchen toy and a whole lotta links | food for fun

  3. I love that you’re not a watermelon fan either – my whole family gives me a hard time about it, but now I can just say, “Liz doesn’t like watermelon either, and she’s cheffy. That should give them pause, don’t you think? At least long enough for me to change the subject to what I watched on tv last night 😉

    I’ve never used a dehydrator before! Looks like fun though – and the perfect way to solve your storage problem! Brilliant!

    • Thanks, amb–now you’ve got me chasing YOU down this derned rabbit hole 🙂 Watermelon is just too watery. Its flavor doesn’t really get interesting until that water gets sucked out. Drying foods is much more work than making soda water, so if space is a problem, I’d go for the bubbles.

      Go ahead and tell your fam there are two of us in the Watermelon Not-Likers Club (Haters seemed too strong a word for such a pretty fruit–haha)

      What did you watch on TV last night? 😉

      • teehee! I will! So glad to have you in my (watermelon free) corner 🙂 Totally agree with you about it being too watery. Totally.

        Last night I watched The Voice, but only a couple of performances. I’m biased and only like watching my favourites – everyone else I fast forward through!

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