Strawberries are readily available throughout the year and even at their scarcest they are relatively cheap compared to other fruit like blueberries. In preparing and drying strawberries I was pleasantly surprised – it was a relatively easy and painless process for both the preparation and drying.
I must admit I’ve always keep it straightforward when it comes to drying fruit and have stuck with the banana and apple options. After making this recipe, strawberries will now form part of my dried fruit menu when hiking.
The steps are easy. Wash and dry the berries in fresh water and once dry, remove any greenery and any unripe sections towards the top of the fruit. From here you have a couple of cutting options. If you aren’t pressed for time, you can use a sharp paring knife and cut the strawberries into slices 4 mm wide. If this is something you are going to be doing regularly then purchase an egg slicer – they are relatively inexpensive. This handy little implement either comes as a straight slicer or with a unit for cutting the into segments. Segments are easier but from a taste perspective the slices just seem to have the advantage. Try it both ways and see what you think.
I used 500 grams of cleaned and trimmed strawberries which was just over 2 punnets worth and this filled up about 1.5 of my dehydrator trays. If you have one, use the small mesh insert with the dehydrator so the slices don’t fall through the standard tray mesh when dry.
Turn the strawberries about 4 hours into drying so they don’t stick to the tray and to ensure they dry evenly. Test them every couple of hours until you get the texture and dryness just the way you like. I am happy to eat these slightly leathery to crispy which in my case took around 9 hours in total. Once dried, allow them to cool before placing in an airtight container or ziplock bag for later use.
This recipe is designed for a food dehydrator and in all honesty I would recommend that’s what you use. However if you don’t own one, then you can try a fan forced oven at a very low temperature 55-60°Celcius. If using an oven, leave the door slightly ajar.
Note: I have seen some recipes that have added sugar but in all honesty the strawberries don’t need it, I think they taste great as is.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Drying Time: 9 Hours
The end result for 500 grams of fresh strawberries is:
Strawberries as purchased
Strawberries cleaned and trimmed with greenery and unripened flesh removed
Strawberries sliced two ways, in segments and sliced. The slices won out for us but give both a try to see what you think
Egg slicer that slices and segments
Egg slicer out of the box
Dehydrator tray with mesh insert for small fruit
Dried strawberries after 9 hours. The original weight was 500 grams, the dried weight was 60 grams. I managed to sends the 1.5 trays I started with down to 1 tray had way through the drying
Dried strawberries ready to eat
Strawberries stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place
Strawberry halves are an alternate option for drying. The preparation is much easier
Dried Strawberry halves, the end result. While cutting strawberries in hand is about as easy as it gets in preparation this batch took 17 hours to dry (three times longer than slices or segments). The skins to flesh ratio of halves hold the water too well