Candied Watermelon-A Sweet and Sour Delight

I have traveled to over 33 countries so far and thought that I had experienced every kind of watermelon concoction until I arrived in Armenia. When my friend told me that she was going to make candied watermelon­čŹë for me, I never imagined it was going to turn out to be the sweet and sour goodness that it became. After receiving tons of requests for the recipe, I gave my friend the challenge of documenting the process­čśů. Here goes:

Candied Watermelon Recipe

Notes & Tools

A look at the ingredients and tools that you will need for this recipe:

  1. Watermelon: This is an obvious ingredient but the note here is that it is preferable to use a watermelon that has a thick rind. The thick rind will yield more candy and a prettier outcome.
  2. White Sugar: Since you are mostly using the rind of the watermelon the sugar will balance out the sour of the rind. Use as much sugar as you need to cover the top of the watermelon in step four of the instructions.
  3. Citric acid: This is a anti-darkening and anti-microbial that will extend the shelf life of the dried fruit.
  4. Cloves: Cloves have a strong flavor so just a few add body to the dried watermelon. This isn’t a requirement though just a wonderful secret ingredient addition.
  5. Sunshine: This recipe calls for sunshine to naturally dry the watermelon, however, a food dehydrator can be used. Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom if you use that method to let me know what changes you made.
  6. Stock Pot: A large enough pot is needed for the boiling process that will hold the watermelon and the juice that it creates.
  7. Cheese cloth: A cheese cloth or a netted item is needed to cover the watermelon throughout the drying process. You need something to protect the watermelon from the environment and let it breathe.
  8. Baking dish: You will need a large baking dish to lay the watermelon out in a single layer without touching throughout the process.

Candied Watermelon Instructions

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 2-4 days

1 Medium sized watermelon
4 cups of white sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid
A few cloves
1. Cut up the watermelon and take out 95% of the flesh. You want to leave some of the red as detailed in the pictures below for a nice contrast and for added flavor.
2. Peel the skin off the rind.
3. Cut the rind to your desired thickness and length. The pictures below will give you an idea.
4. Place one layer of the cut rind into a large stock pot. Sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of white sugar on each layer. Continue to add layers and to sprinkle each layer with sugar until you have used all of your cut rind. Check note 2.
5. Cover the mixture with a lid and let the mixture sit until it creates its own juice. This step can take anywhere from 5 hours to 24 hours. If the liquid doesn’t cover the watermelon you can add water and sugar to cover the top of the watermelon.
6. Add 1 teaspoon of citric acid to the mixture in the pot.
7. Put the pot on the stove and boil for 2 minutes. Let it cool. Boil again for 2 minutes. Let it cool. Boil a 3rd time until the liquid in the pot becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The watermelon should be soft enough to chew but not falling apart.
8. Place the watermelon rind in a single layer in a baking dish or more than one dish if you need room.
9. Pour all the liquid from the stock pot over the fruit in the baking dish. Add the cloves and/or any other spices that you may want to add during this step.
10. Cover with a cheese cloth or a similar netted item so the fruit can breathe but will still protect it from the environment. It should remain covered for 2 hours.
11. Place the dried fruit in a colander for about 30 minutes to drain most of the liquid.
12. Place the dried fruit in a single layer on a flat pan making sure they are not touching. Cover with a cheese cloth and place in a sunny area for 24 hours. Turn the layers over and dry for another 24 hours. This takes the longest amount of time but is necessary for drying the fruit properly. Having it in a windy location also helps. Once the fruit has reached your desired consistency you can dust it with powered sugar and ENJOY!

Visual Steps

Here’s your beautiful candied watermelon after 2 days of drying naturally.

At the end of the drying process your candied watermelon should still have some moisture inside so that it will be tasty. You can store the final product in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.