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Old 09-20-2021, 01:11 PM   #1
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Any tips to drying watermelon?

Hello,

I'm new to this site and kinda new to dehydrating food. One item that seems to be a "mess" is watermelons. After drying, the trays seem to be pretty sticky and I'm thinking there's got to be a better way. I don't really want to change the taste of pure watermelons, but I'm thinking olive oil. Does anyone have anything better they like to recommend?

Any dehydrating 101 links you'd like to share?

(Sorry if this isn't the right place to ask this. I couldn't get the search function work here.)

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Old 09-20-2021, 05:10 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

This page describes how to dehydrate watermelon. If it's sticky, it's not dried enough.

https://www.thepurposefulpantry.com/...te-watermelon/

The site has information on dehydrating lots of other fruits and vegetables.

https://www.thepurposefulpantry.com/...y/dehydrating/
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:08 PM   #3
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Personally, I canīt think of a more complicated fruit to dry than watermelon. Iīm not saying donīt try it; just that itīd be easier to start with apples, pears, pineapple, berries: anything but watermelon.
Once youīve mastered the easy fruit, go ahead with the tough ones.
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:26 PM   #4
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/937950979564072


I dehydrate diced watermelon rind, no peel to use in dishes in winter.
Usually oil and honey are not dehydrated, because the honey will not dry well, and the oil will get oxidized and go rancid.



If you join the facebook group, they have a lot of experience and there are many posts on watermelon. Use the search function.
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies! Some great links too!

@ karadekoolaid, I did start out with the easier fruits. One of my favorite is Asian pears. Fuji apples are good too.

@blissful, watermelon seems to be a big hit with me and friends. I like the tip on drying the the fruit out before setting it on the trays. Never really saw any thing on using some kind of non stick oil. Something like this https://www.tasteofhome.com/collecti...cooking-spray/ Just about everyone has some kind of spray oil they would be behind. I'll try drying before laying down on my trays. Also flipping them often seems to work.

Another thing these videos don't seem to do is get behind just eating the seeds. I tend to go for the old fashion seeded watermelons. Mine took 2 days to dry. That means the seeds took 2 days too. So the seeds were dry and easy to consume. From just getting feedback from the 2 friends that had my stuff, they didn't have any problems eating the seeds either.
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Old 09-21-2021, 06:55 AM   #6
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Allan A, - Welcome to DC! Hope you stick around and let us know how it goes.

GG - thanks for that link, looks really interesting and helpful.
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Old 09-21-2021, 11:06 AM   #7
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Allan, instead of oil on the dehydrator trays, they make silicone mats, also webbing silicone mats, and I often use coated parchment paper. Not uncoated bakery parchment but the regular parchment available in the grocery stores for things like drying apple slices or fruit rollups, anything sticky.


My trays are 15x15 inches, the parchment is just a little narrower, allowing air flow around it.

These mats can also be cut to size and shape of various trays. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-21-2021, 11:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
Allan, instead of oil on the dehydrator trays, they make silicone mats, also webbing silicone mats, and I often use coated parchment paper. Not uncoated bakery parchment but the regular parchment available in the grocery stores for things like drying apple slices or fruit rollups, anything sticky.


My trays are 15x15 inches, the parchment is just a little narrower, allowing air flow around it.

These mats can also be cut to size and shape of various trays. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Oh yeah, forgot to mention these sheets. These sheets looks really promising! The ones you linked sounds like a good place to start. I'll order these now. I want to catch the last of the local watermelons, which seems to be for a couple of more weeks.

Thanks for everyone's input on this and your welcomes.
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Old 09-24-2021, 11:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
My trays are 15x15 inches, the parchment is just a little narrower, allowing air flow around it.

These mats can also be cut to size and shape of various trays. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I got these sheets today. I'll setup some watermelons to dry this weekend. Seems like these sheets stop alot of the airflow. I might angle towards getting something that's a little more open.

Any feedback?
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Old 10-03-2021, 11:30 PM   #10
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These silicon sheets ended up being not too bad. I put the sheets on all my trays to see how much of the air was being blocked. Yeah there was some blockage, but that wasn't really that bad of a scenario. It blocked some of the air, but that also meant that the heat was kinda trapped too. So more air was drying the fruit, instead of escaping into the room air.

The drying of the watermelon on to paper towels really helped too. Cut down dehydrating the watermelon to about half. The big thing was that things weren't getting all sticky and gummed up. I was able to go 3 rounds drying fruit before I had to clean things up. Used to be go one round and clean stuff up. So the sheets really were a great help!

I got a big melon today. Most likely my last one. They might have more next week, but we'll see. I might dry it all up. Makes things easier to save and store.
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Old 10-03-2021, 11:40 PM   #11
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Allan A, I like the silicone mats. I often use parchment OVER the silicone mats while on the trays. I had probably used the mats 10 times, (mostly dry stuff, like parsley and herbs) and have not washed them because they were not sticky but this last time they were sticky after peppers. I took the hose and sprayer to them all. It was far easier to clean outside than try to fit them in my kitchen sink. I now have them with parchment with sumac on them tonight.



I don't always use parchment and I don't use it just because things are sticky. I use parchment over mats because it contains how much falls through once things are dry. Parchment contains the bits of parsley or thyme or summer savory. I may make more fruit leather and parchment works well for that too. The trays still need more structure and the mats fill that need for me.
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