Compressed Watermelon with Watermelon Sauce

dessert seasonal eating Jul 10, 2023

Compressed Watermelon with Watermelon Sauce

Soaking watermelon in its own condensed juices makes a double-down sweet-as-can-be watermelon flavor. It’s the perfect summer dessert; no sugar needed!

Serves 4 to 8 depending on size of watermelon


1 seedless watermelon - look for a heavy watermelon with a large yellow “sunspot” rather than a white spot on the skin.

Garnish: use any or all or think of your own!

  • ½ cup toasted or un-toasted coconut flakes

  • Slivered basil, mint, or both, or whatever you’d like!

  • Pomegranate seeds


Wash your watermelon well in hot soapy water to remove any germs and dirt from the skin. Rinse well and dry with a clean towel.  

  • Using a clean cutting board, cut the watermelon into (as perfectly as possible) squares that are 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. Use a ruler. Save the red fruit scraps in a bowl. Discard rind and white fruit.

  • Sprinkle cubes very lightly with fine sea salt and gently set in a colander gently to drain.

  • Purée the scraps into a fine “soup” in a blender or with a hand emersion blender… which means less washing!

  • Measure the purée and place it in a saucepan. Reduce it by half by simmering. Stir occasionally.

  • It will separate at first and then should look like tomato sauce.

  • Taste. If it’s not quite sweet enough, add light honey to taste; no more than a tablespoon or so.

  • Cool and then chill until cold. 

The reduced puréed watermelon should look like tomato sauce.

  • Once the sauce is chilled, put the squares into a square or rectangular glass Pyrex-type dish that just fits the squares. You will need two.

  • Pour the sauce over the squares.

  • Cover with parchment paper, and then place the second dish on top.

  • Add weight such as heavy cans, etc. See photo.

  • Turn the squares once after an hour or so if they are not completely covered with sauce.

  • If you don’t have the right container, you can also place the cubed watermelon in a zip lock gallon bag placing squares tightly next to each other and in a single layer. Add the purée and seal, pressing out as much air as possible. 

  • Place the bags on a cookie sheet with a rim in case of leakage. 

  • Place another cookie sheet or something similar on top of the bags that will provide gentle, even pressure, such as a small cutting board.

  • Top the cookie sheet or cutting board with several cans, an unopened milk carton on its side, etc. to apply extra pressure.

**Chill for 2-3 ho


To serve:

  • Place two or three cubes into each serving bowl. Drizzle sauce around the cubes and garnish with toppings.

  • You can also use a large rimmed platter for large gatherings. Drizzle sauce over the cubes and garnish with toppings.


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Campbell, CA

Photo Credits:
Amy Johnson, David Greer, and Phillip Romano
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