I love that there are only 2 ingredients in this recipe: Watermelon + Sea Salt. And both ingredients that I used were made right here in Oregon. I used Jacobsen’s sea salt harvested not too far from our house, off the Oregon Coast. We took a tour of his salt works facility last summer, see this post for pics. If you have a high quality finishing flaked sea salt this is the recipe to use it in! And if not any pure sea salt will work too. I also used an organic Oregon grown watermelon so – talk about a “local” food recipe!
I saw a recipe for Watermelon Jerky from Excalibur, the folks who made my food dehydrator, and after making my first batch of watermelon jerky I was a little on the fence whether I liked it or not. As I found the jerky a bit tough to rip with my teeth. But then magic happened when I rolled the pieces up and added a little more sea salt, and as I bit into them it seriously reminded me of eating salt water taffy as a kid! And now when I eat them I think “salt water taffy” in my brain and my mouth agrees. When you roll them up into a thicker “candy” it makes them so much softer to bite into, versus a tough jerky that you chew. It’s something you have to try to believe I think!
In the photos you will see I tried this recipe with a rainbow of different melons, but watermelon seriously works the best! I didn’t care much for the cantalope or canary mellow taffy, but one super sweet yellow mellow turned out pretty good. Ultimately I really suggest using watermelon for this recipe. I followed a recipe to make these pickled watermelon rinds which came pretty good too! I was surprised who nice and soft the pickled rind got. I just subbed in some honey in place of the refined sugar. And you gotta check out the post where I show you what I am currently baking with watermelon seed flour. Talk about a versatile fruit with zero waste!
I am currently loving this Watermelon “Salt Water Taffy” Candy! It’s pretty freaking awesome. It’s the perfect treat to snack on for “movie night” and a few pieces really add a nice pop of flavor to a sack lunch. And with Halloween coming up I think these candies are perfect for a mom who would rather her family snack on fruit instead of those icky GMO corn syrup filled candies.
Watermelon Salt Water Taffy
- 1 watermelon
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons sea salt
- A seedless watermelon will be the easiest to work with, as the little thin white seeds can be left in the slices and won’t hardly be noticeable in the taffy. You will need to remove any big black seeds. A firm watermelon is recommended for a nice chewy taffy, versus an overly ripe melon that is falling apart, which you can still use, but the mushy melon won’t roll as easily or be as chewy like “taffy”.
- Slice watermelon into strips 1/3 inch thick, and 2 to 2-1/2 inches wide. (You can also dehydrate the extra odd shaped pieces to roll up with other odd shaped pieces when dry, and you can “pickle” the watermelon rinds.) Remove watermelon rind. If you have a firm watermelon you can slice it in half, put each flat side down on a cutting board and quickly cut off all of the watermelon rind before cutting into slices.
- Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. (If you aren’t sure you will like the added salt, you can dry them without sea salt, and salt them at the end when rolling)
- Dehydrate watermelon for 24 to 32 hours at 115*F. (you can use a higher temp of 135*F to shorten the dry time a few hours, but I felt like keeping this recipe a “raw food” so I dried it just under 115*F)
- Check on watermelon every 8 to 12 hours. I flip the pieces over after approx. 20 hours of drying. And at 24 hours I remove any pieces that are done and place them into a ziplock bag in the fridge.
- When all the watermelon “jerky” is dry roll up the jerky in taffy sized pieces and garnish with extra sea salt, to taste. Wrap in rectangle pieces of parchment paper and twist the ends.
- This “candy” is the chewiest and most taffy like when enjoyed at room temp. I store this candy in the fridge, and take a few pieces out at a time to keep on the counter. It will last for days at room temp with no problems, and technically if you got all of the moisture out while dehydrating it should be fine at room temp for weeks, but to be safe I keep it refrigerated for long term storage.
Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable + Gluten Free Fridays + Weekend Retreat Link Party + Savoring Saturdays Link Party + Allergy Free Wednesday + Try a Bite Tuesday + Fat Tuesday + Healthy, Happy Green & Natural Party Blog Hop + Real Food Friday