This tutorial shows you how easy it is to learn how to dehydrate strawberries. Dehydrating is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and can make all the difference when trying to save bulk berries, or just to preserve and enjoy the flavor of peak season strawberries all year round.
The first time I had dried strawberries, I knew I wanted to recreate them. They were so good! full of sweet flavor, and kind of chewy like fruit leather.
These are not the same as freeze dried strawberries, which are crunchy, and can easily be blended to strawberry powder, and also reabsorb water quickly.
Rather, these are air dried, which shrinks the fruit as it dries.
If you have a food dehydrator, this will be a “set it and forget it recipe”. If not, don’t worry! You can easily use your oven.
What you need for drying strawberries
As mentioned above, this is a very simple recipe, so you only need one ingredient: strawberries.
Other than that, you’ll need a few pieces of equipment:
- Knife for hulling berries.
- A rack such as your dehydrator tray, or if you’re using your oven, a wire rack like you use to cool cookies.
- A heat source. This will be your dehydrator – either an elective one, your oven, of in dry, hot weather, the sun.
Prepping strawberries for dehydrating
To prep the berries, you will need to de-stem them, (I recommend doing this after washing them), and slice them into 1/4 inch pieces. The exact thickness isn’t as important as uniformity. You want essentially the same thickness in every slice so that they dry evenly.
Pro tip: strawberry hulls are perfectly edible – save them for smoothies!
It doesn’t matter which way you slice them. We’ve experimented with slicing them both horizontally, and vertically, and the results are indistinguishable. Some fruits, like bananas, completely change texture depending on the way you slice them, but not strawberries. So go with what appeals to you most.
How to dehydrate strawberries
After you’ve de-stemmed, and sliced your fresh strawberries with a sharp knife, arrange them on a dehydrator tray. Again, this can be an electric dehydrator, or a metal try to put in your oven.
Make sure there is some space between each for air flow.
- Electric food dehydrator. Assemble filled trays in your dehydrator, and set it to 140º
- Oven. Place wire rack filled with strawberries on a baking sheet, and place in center of oven. Dry on lowest oven setting. This may be as low as 140º, or as high as 180º. In either case, prop the door open to let moisture evaporate and escape. In the case of a higher temperature, prop the door open 3-4 inches to let heat escape.
- Sun/air. Place strawberries on trays with perforated bottoms (such as the cookie cooling rack) for air flow. Cover strawberries with a screen such as cheese cloth to keep bugs away, and place in a shady area. On a dry, hot, breezy day, your strawberries may be dry by evening. If not, bring them in out of potential dew, and refrigerate. Place them back outside after dew evaporates in the morning. In one of our previous homes, we did most of our dehydrating in the attic which eliminated the need for bug proofing, and bringing inside at night. It was also hot up there, and since both ends had a screened window, plenty of air flow which sped things up. We also had a hanging air dryer, which was great in the summer.
How long to dry strawberries
Strawberries have a very high water content, so they can take as much as 24 hours to dry, depending on thickness. For my dehydrator at 140º, I expect 1/4 inch thick pieces to take up to 18 hours.
If your oven has a higher temperature setting, it may take less time. You can turn your dehydrator up to speed drying as well, but remember that at a certain point, you’re essentially cooking them; killing the enzymes and some of the nutrients that make fresh fruit such a powerhouse.
How to tell when strawberries are done
When strawberries are done, slices will feel leathery, with no hint of moisture inside. They’ll also be much thinner.
When in doubt, tear one in half to see what’s inside.
The thinner your strawberry slices, the easier it will be to tell when they’re dry, but that doesn’t mean you have to slice them thinly – it just means you have to be careful to make sure thicker pieces are absolutely dry.
How to store dried strawberries
- When strawberries are dry, remove them from the dehydrator and let them cool completely
- Pack them loosely (i.e don’t pack them down to fit more in) into a dry, sterile, airtight container such as a mason jar
- Place in a cool, dry place
- After a week, inspect jar to make sure there is no signs of moisture or mold.
- At this time, shake the jar to loosen the berries, and prevent them sticking together as they age (this is often referred to as “conditioning”)
- After the week, you may vacuum seal dried strawberries for a longer shelf life, or keep them in sealed jars. I recommend adding a moisture absorbing packet if you live in an area with high humidity.
- Be sure to label and date your container
- Ultimately, store container in a cool, dark place.
How to use dehydrated strawberries
- For my kids, they just want to eat them as a snack.
- For me, I like to add them to homemade granola cereal
- They’re also great rehydrated and made into strawberry syrup for pancakes and waffles.
- Add them to oatmeal as it cooks
- Add them to pancake or waffle batter
- Enjoy them with yogurt or ice cream
- Add them to homemade trail mix
Other recipes you may enjoy:
- Homemade Strawberry Jam
- Strawberry Banana Fruit Leather
- How to dehydrate bananas
- Blueberry Banana Fruit leather
- Beet Fruit Leather
How to Dehydrate Strawberries
A simple recipe for making dehydrated strawberries for strawberry chips.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Hull strawberries. Set hulls aside to use in smoothies if desired
- Slice strawberries about 1/4 inch thick (either top to bottom, or crossways, it doesn’t make a difference)
- Arrange strawberries on dehydrator trays so that strawberry slices aren’t touching
- Dehydrate for 12 hours, or until strawberries are completely dry inside and out at 145 degrees fahrenheit
- Follow the same steps for preparing strawberries, but arrange strawberry slices on a wire rack such as ones used for cooling cookies
- Place on a baking tray in the oven
- Set your oven to the lowest heat setting (usually between 165 and 185 degrees)
- Prop oven door open for air flow and temperature regulation
- Leave strawberries in oven until completely dried. You may want to flip them occasionally for even air flow
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