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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Watermelon Jerky

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

If a tree falls in the forest but no one hears it, does it make a sound?

What came first, reality TV infamy or the Kardashians?

All of these are unanswerable questions. Meditate on them night and day, and just maybe you'll have an answer...but all of these are timeless mysteries for a reason.

What is watermelon, though, without water?

One could seek out your local friendly mountaintop Zen master...or whip out a food dehydrator and give yourself about a week or so...

...or as of about right now you can head down to everyone here's favorite grocery shop, plop down $3.69, and buy yourself a bag of Trader Joe's Organic Watermelon Jerky.

That's right. Watermelon. In jerky form. As in a famously watery fruit, highly sought after for its thirstquenching glory, dried and flattened and rolled up so as to eliminate any trace of a drop of some high quality H2O.

Listen, I'm about as baffled as you. Or I was. I first heard about this weeks ago and called every other day since then...but there were rollout delays, then weather issues, then...well, finally, I snagged four bags and couldn't wait to rip one open to behold this magical arid fibrous fruit wonder. Waited so long....

It's odd stuff, for sure. It's unquestionably a very concentrated watermelon flavor, as one might expect. It's not as intense as I anticipated, but I'm glad TJ's didn't go the added sugars route. It's just watermelon sans water.

Interesting tidbit from the bag bottom:

Wow! If I'm doing my math right, the end product is about 1/34th its original weight, and is about three quarts of water extracted. Watermelon was hitting that Lasix hard. 

All well and good, but what about the texture? How does it actually work?

The melon jerky is kinda stiff, fibrous, and a little sticky. Both bags I have opened thus far have had all the pieces clumped all together necessitating them to be plied apart carefully. I lack any better way to explain it than saying, imagine a thin, dense sponge that got baked dry. That probably sounds more awful then I intend it you, but there's a surprising amount of chew to it. It's not as much as a jerky from a regular source, but still. There's not too many seeds in the jerky either - I think I've seen maybe only two or three per bag, and they meld in well enough with the rest of the product.

When all said and done, though, I'm not sure how much I actually truly like the watermelon jerky. There's an absolute novelty factor at work, which hit me with some initial marvel, but once it wore off, I was just eating weirdly dry waterlessmelon. I've heard it said that watermelon jerky could be considered a vegan alternative to regular jerky - well, if that's your thing, go for it, but that's a bit of a stretch to me.

I brought some into work to share, and most reviews were pretty friendly. The melon jerky definitely made for some odd reactions and some flatout rejections...but most were positive.

My final call is, if you like watermelon and novel snackage, the jerky is worth at least one try. Worst comes to worst, you can do TJ's no-hassle return policy - but I doubt it'd come to that. I don't know...double fours? That's as much juice as I can squeeze here for these edible contradictions.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Watermelon Jerky: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons.


  1. Although it might be good steeped in mint water. Dipped in Ruby Chocolate maybe?

  2. After the review, 8/10 was a surprise ending.

  3. I am so desperate for something -anything!!- that tastes like summer lately, it feels really really far away.
    I’ve actually had watermelon jerkey before and LOVED it so i’ll be checking with my store, although they didn’t have it as of a few days ago.
    I did see they had mini watermelons in stock and seriously contemplated buying one but there’s just no way it’s anything like sweet summer watermelon.
    Trader joe’s should carry vegan jerky!! Primal Strips makes a great seitan based jerky, they should collaborate.

  4. Another product that seems like Trader Joe copied from an independent small business. SakaraLife (a vegan/gluten free meal delivery service) has been selling watermelon jerky for a while, and they were the first place I saw it. I know that's kind of TJ's thing, making affordable versions of high-end organic products, but it's starting to feel weird to me that they keep coming out with seasonings and snack foods that other small businesses created... like when Forever 21 steals a design from an etsy artist.

    1. So poor people don't deserve to eat good things? That's pretty snobby of you. And, perhaps the small company is making the private label version for TJ's. Arguing with people like you is pointless and I am just bitter because my TJ's does not have this in stock!

  5. Like the Cookie Thins would be a total rip-off of Salem Baking Company's Moravian cookies. Except I believe they are made by the company for TJ's. The local TJ's in Winston-Salem had a sign near the cookies that they were made locally.

  6. Where in the store is this found? I’ve looked several times and can’t fine it.

  7. This was truly disgusting. Ate a bite and the rest went in the rubbish bin!


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