Sunday, June 19, 2016

Watermelon treats

Wraps of watermelon with coconut-lime filling

Watermelon season! If you are a fruit enthusiast like me, you probably also indulge yourself into buying those real sized watermelons in summer time. If you buy them regularly, you’ll end up learning how to pick up sweet and ripe ones and avoid the not so sweet ones. If you are not that lucky with a sweet watermelon, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to use them where they don’t need to be that sweet. 

watermelon juice goes well with ginger, mint, lemon balm or rosemary

After cutting open a watermelon, you better keep it refrigerated. I have a special spot in my fridge for them, but even then it would not fit a full watermelon. So when I cut it open, I make sure to use a lot of it at once, until the rest fits nicely in the fridge. I make myself a full bowl with it, I place some extra pieces in a tuperware for later in the day and/or I juice some of it for use in that same day.

When juicing the watermelon, I love adding fresh herbs, such as lemon balm or mint to it. Or lemongrass if you have it! Fresh ginger root also goes great with watermelon juice. 
I add the resulting pulp from the juicing back to the juicer again and again until there is very little left. The pulp left is added to my dogs’ food. Nothing gets wasted here and they just love it! 

Drying watermelon.

If you have too much watermelon, you might want to dry some of it for later use. Dried watermelon is an incredibly yummy and accidentally healthful sweet treat that might as well be the solution to our cravings for sweets.

Ready to go in the dehydrator. I prefer to remove the seeds after drying

Drying is also a great solution for watermelons that are not sweet enough, or for the less sweet parts of it near the white skin, which are often discarded by many people. 

By drying it, its natural sugars get concentrated so you end up with chewy and much sweeter treats. Needless to say, sweet watermelons become much sweeter after drying so it can perfectly replace various desserts, or can take part in interesting (and healthful) dessert recipes.

After several hours in the dehydrator

Cut the watermelon into slices of 1-2 cm, spread them over a dehydrator tray and dry them in at a low temperature (45°C). How long it will take depends on various factors such as how juicy your watermelon is, temperature settings of your dehydrator, air moist, thickness of the slices, etc. Count at least 8 hours but it could take as much as 12. 

half dried watermelon are incredibly delicious but they should be eaten within 3 days if kept in the fridge

dried watermelon in jar - ready to eat
If you don’t have a low temperature dehydrator, you can dry them in a regular oven, at the lowest temperature allowed in it. Place the slices on a silicone thin baking sheet (not regular silicone baking mats). If you bake the watermelon slices under temperatures higher than 90°C make sure to keep a close eye on how quickly it bakes, as it should not burn. When ready, keep your dried watermelon in air - tight containers, preferably in the fridge, to eat as a snack (delicious!), or to use in salads, sushis or other culinary creations.

sushi with marinated dried watermelon

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