Watermelon is quintessential to our summer celebrations, but sometimes it doesn’t get used up all in time so I experimented with this “two in one” method for using overripe watermelon. I managed to make a lovely watermelon-apple punch plus fruit leather out of the same leftover melon!
- 6-8 cups of overripe (but still edible) watermelon
- 3-4 Apples (choose a sweet variety and approximately 1 apple per 2 cups of watermelon)
- 1 -2 tsp of Thrive Life Limeade powder or one lime (more or less depending on taste preference)
- Your choice of sweetener (optional – I used stevia)
- Carbonated water
- Ice cream scoop or large spoon
- A fine sieve
- High powered blender
- Food dehydrator (optional – can use an oven on the lowest temperature too)
- ParaFlexx reusable dehydrator sheets or parchment paper
Directions for Watermelon Punch
First I scooped out the watermelon using an ice cream scoop. I didn’t bother removing the seeds since they offer some extra nutrition and my blender (a Vitamix) is high powered anyways. It ended up being about 6 cups of watermelon. Then I cored and sliced three apples (apple seeds are slightly toxic so I didn’t want them in there, but I kept the skin) and added them to the blender. I also added one tsp of Thrive Life Summer Limeade. Alternatively you can use a fresh lime, but the benefit of the powder is it isn’t adding more liquid to the mix. The lime just adds a bit of zip.
Blend it all on high (I used my blender’s smoothie setting). There is no need to add water. It should be frothy and like a too runny smoothie once blended (like the top right picture of the three). At this point, I took a sieve and let the juice drain into a jug. I helped it along by pressing down with a large flat spoon. I didn’t spend lots of time straining though – just long enough to get the initial run off and thicken up the remaining smoothie mixture, which I spooned into a glass measuring bowl.
At this point you can drink the juice! I found it quite strong so I added carbonated water to it (we make our own from tap water using SodaStream). I did a 1:1 ratio of juice to carbonated water which doubled the amount shown in the picture. It was a very refreshing punch! I hoarded it all for myself but it would be great for a party too.
Directions for Watermelon Fruit Leather
If you wanted you could stop here and eat the remaining mix like applesauce, but I wanted to make fruit leather from it in my dehydrator. To do this, first check that you like the flavor – I found most of the sweetness went with the juice so I added some stevia to mine. Next time I think I will try adding Thrive Life Orchard Apple powder for sweetness. You could add whatever sweetener of your choice, whisking it in in small quantities at a time until it suits your taste.
This is when a dehydrator becomes a wonderful tool to have on hand. I have one ParaFlexx reusable sheet which I line my dehydrator tray with in order to make fruit leathers, but you can use parchment paper too (just do NOT use wax paper). My dehydrator is Excalibur brand and we bought it at Community Natural Foods. You can also dehydrate in the oven on low, though the end result may not be as even of a texture.
The dehydrating recipe book I got with my dehydrator says to do 1 cup of mixture per tray for fruit leathers, making it 1/8 inch thick in the middle and 1/4 inch thick on the sides (you essentially want it thicker on the side since they will dry out the fastest). Then you are supposed to dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for 4 – 6 hours, turning the tray half way through.
I swerved from this method and still ended up with a result I am happy with. I had about 2 cups of mixture and instead of splitting it onto two trays I did it all on the same tray (it was very close to the edge but did not spill over). If you have multiple ParaFlexx sheets or more mixture than I had it would be better to split it up though. For the first couple hours I dehydrated at 135°F and then turned the tray around, but by then it was night time and I wanted to go to bed, so I actually left it in all night at 90°F (32°C).
My end result was good though slightly more dried than necessary. Next time I would do it at 90°F from the beginning if I was planning to run it overnight, or try to do it during the day so I could watch it and stop when it was ready. But the slightly more dried texture worked great because I broke it up and made watermelon “chips” out of it, which are smaller bite sizes easier for my children to eat. I liked having the extra chew of the blended apple skin and watermelon seeds in there too – but if you don’t think you will like this factor that in at the beginning and remove the seeds and skin.
I might just have to “forget” about the watermelon in the fridge more often!
What do you do with overripe watermelon? I appreciate comments as it lets me know you were here. Thanks for reading!