When it comes to preserving strawberries, preserving methods such as making strawberry jam, freezing and making pie filling can easily come to mind. But have you considered dehydrating strawberries?!
8 Reasons to Dehydrate Strawberries
Extended Shelf Life: Dehydrating strawberries significantly extends their shelf life. By removing most of the water content, which is the primary factor leading to spoilage, dehydrated strawberries can last for up to a year when stored properly. This allows you to enjoy the delicious taste of strawberries even when they are out of season.
Preserving Nutritional Value: Dehydration preserves much of the nutritional content found in fresh strawberries. While some nutrients, such as vitamin C, may slightly decrease during the drying process, the strawberries retain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for your health.
Convenience and Portability: Dehydrated strawberries are incredibly convenient and portable. They require no refrigeration and can be easily carried in your bag or stored in your pantry. This makes them an excellent option for snacks on-the-go or for taking on hikes, road trips, or any outdoor activities.
Reduced Food Waste: Dehydrating strawberries allows you to make use of surplus or overripe berries that might otherwise go to waste. Instead of throwing away excess strawberries, you can transform them into delicious and nutritious snacks.
Versatility in Use: Dehydrated strawberries are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They can be used in a wide variety of recipes, ranging from baked goods and smoothies to fruit compotes and savory dishes. Their concentrated flavor adds depth and sweetness to numerous dishes.
No Additives or Preservatives: When you dehydrate strawberries at home, you have control over the process and can avoid adding any artificial preservatives or sweeteners. This ensures that you’re enjoying a natural and wholesome snack without any unwanted additives.
Cost-Effective: Buying fresh strawberries when they’re in season and plentiful is usually more economical than purchasing them off-season when their price tends to rise due to limited availability. Dehydrating strawberries at their peak freshness allows you to enjoy their flavors year-round without breaking the bank.
Reduces Clutter and Space: Dehydrated strawberries take up much less space than fresh ones. By dehydrating your strawberries, you can free up valuable refrigerator or freezer space for other items.
Tools To Dehydrate Strawberries
You don’t need much to dehydrate strawberries successfully. You can simply use an oven and an old mason jar! Over the years I have found that investing in a few key tools makes dehydrating strawberries and all of my other garden harvests so much easier and faster! To me, these items below are well worth the investment!
Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine: I love this machine because it dries evenly and has super low temperature settings! It isn’t too big to leave on the countertop throughout the summer and fall, and it comes with a variety of trays for different dehydrating techniques.
Silica Gel Packs: These gel packs keep even the smallest amounts of moisture out of your storage container. Simply pop one of these gel packets in with your strawberries and seal!
Ball Canning Jars: My favorite go to jars for canning and preserving!
How to Prepare Strawberries For Dehydrating
Gather Fresh and Ripe Strawberries: Grab the sweetest, juiciest strawberries you can find. Look for vibrant red ones without mushy spots or bruises. Organic strawberries are even better, as they’re free from icky chemicals.
Rinse and Dry: Give your strawberries a gentle bath under cool running water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Nice and clean!
Slice the Berries: With a sharp knife, remove the stems from the strawberries. Now, slice them evenly to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Consistent slicing helps them dry evenly.
How to Sweeten Strawberries Before Dehydrating
If you want to add a touch of sweetness to your dehydrated strawberries, there are a few simple and natural ways to do it. Here are three delicious methods to sweeten strawberries before dehydrating:
Honey or Maple Syrup Coating: After slicing the strawberries, place them in a bowl. Drizzle a small amount of honey or pure maple syrup over the slices. Gently toss the strawberries to coat them evenly.
Let the strawberries sit for a few minutes to absorb the sweetness.
Sugar Dusting: In a separate bowl, add a few tablespoons of granulated sugar. After slicing the strawberries, toss them in the bowl with the sugar until they are lightly coated.
Simple Syrup Blanching: Dissolve 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 cup of sugar in 2 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Submerge the prepared fruit in the syrup (use a stainless-steel blanching basket), and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove fruit from the syrup and rinse lightly in cool water. Transfer the fruit to dehydrator trays and dry as directed below.
How Long Does it Take For Strawberries to Dehydrate in a Dehydrator?
The time it takes to dehydrate strawberries in a dehydrator can vary based on several factors, including the thickness of the strawberry slices, the moisture content of the berries, and the specific dehydrator model and settings. However, on average, dehydrating strawberries in a dehydrator typically takes around 8 to 12 hours.
Here are a few factors that can affect the drying time:
Strawberry Slice Thickness: Thinner slices will dry faster than thicker ones. Aim for slices that are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick for more consistent drying.
Dehydrator Temperature: The drying temperature can influence the time needed. Most dehydrators recommend a temperature of around 135°F (57°C) for drying strawberries, but some models may have slightly different settings.
Humidity and Moisture Content: High humidity in your kitchen or the moisture content of the strawberries themselves can extend the drying time.
Dehydrator Efficiency: The efficiency and power of your dehydrator can also play a role. Some models may dry faster than others due to differences in airflow and heat distribution.
To ensure that the strawberries are fully dehydrated and safe to store, it’s essential to monitor them regularly during the drying process. Check for a leathery texture with no moisture left inside the slices.
If you’re new to dehydrating strawberries, it’s a good idea to start checking on them after 8 hours. Depending on the factors mentioned above, they might need a little more time or could be ready to enjoy. Once they are dehydrated to your desired consistency, allow them to cool to room temperature before storing them in airtight containers or bags.
Patience is key when dehydrating strawberries, but the sweet and chewy rewards will make it all worth it in the end!
How Long Do Dehydrated Strawberries Last?
Dehydrated strawberries can have an impressive shelf life when stored properly. When kept in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag in a cool, dark, and dry place, dehydrated strawberries can last anywhere from 8 months to a year.
Several factors can affect the longevity of dehydrated strawberries:
Storage Conditions: Proper storage is crucial. Keep them in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags to prevent moisture and air from getting in, which could lead to spoilage.
Temperature: Store dehydrated strawberries in a cool place. Avoid exposing them to high temperatures, as heat can degrade their quality and shorten their shelf life.
Humidity: Moisture is the enemy of dehydrated food. High humidity can cause the strawberries to reabsorb moisture and become soft or moldy.
Quality of Dehydration: Ensuring that the strawberries are thoroughly dehydrated is essential. If there is any remaining moisture, it can lead to spoilage and reduce their shelf life.
To get the most out of your dehydrated strawberries, label the container with the date of dehydration, so you have a reference point for their freshness. While they may still be safe to eat after a year, their flavor and texture might begin to decline over time. For the best taste and quality, try to consume them within the first 8 to 10 months.
How do You Store Dehydrated Strawberries For Long-Term Storage?
To store dehydrated strawberries for long-term storage, follow these steps to ensure they remain fresh and delicious for an extended period:
Cool and Completely Dry: Before storing, allow the dehydrated strawberries to cool completely. Ensure that they are thoroughly dehydrated with no signs of moisture, as any remaining moisture can lead to spoilage during storage. I like to leave my strawberries in the dehydrator while the machine is off overnight to ensure they are cool and completely dry. Note: I ONLY do this if it isn’t humid out! I once did this when we were having a heat wave and woke up to the strawberries holding more moisture than they did the night before! Resulting in me having to dehydrate them over again!
Select the Right Containers: Choose airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags specifically designed for long-term food storage. Mason jars with tight-fitting lids also work well. The goal is to keep out air and moisture, which can degrade the quality of the strawberries.
Pack Carefully: Gently fill the containers with the dehydrated strawberries. Avoid crushing or compacting the slices to maintain their shape and texture.
Remove Air Pockets: If using containers with lids, tap the containers on the counter or gently shake them to settle the contents and remove any air pockets.
Label and Date: Clearly label the containers with the contents (dehydrated strawberries) and the date of dehydration. This helps you keep track of their freshness and rotation.
Store in a Cool, Dark, and Dry Place: Choose a storage location away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and areas with high humidity. A pantry or a cool cupboard is an ideal spot.
Rotate and Use First-In, First-Out (FIFO): If you plan to store multiple batches of dehydrated strawberries, practice FIFO storage by using the oldest ones first. This ensures you consume them before they reach the end of their optimal shelf life.
Check for Freshness: Periodically inspect the stored strawberries for any signs of mold, off odors, or changes in texture. If you notice any spoilage, discard the affected batch immediately.
By following these steps, you can maximize the shelf life of your dehydrated strawberries and continue enjoying their sweet and tangy goodness for an extended time. Remember to keep them away from moisture, heat, and light, and they’ll be ready to enhance your recipes and snacks whenever you need them!
How to Dehydrate Strawberries
Step 1: You will want to start by selecting ripe and fresh strawberries. Ensure they are free from any mold or bruises. Wash the strawberries gently under cold running water and pat them dry with a clean towel or let them air dry in a cool room.
Step 2: Remove the stems from the strawberries. You can either cut them off with a knife or use a strawberry huller if you have one.
Step 3: If desired, you can slice the strawberries into halves or quarters for faster drying. Alternatively, you can leave them whole if you prefer. I like to slice our strawberries into 1/4 inch slices for faster dehydrating. The thicker the berry, the longer they will take to dehydrate.
Step 4: Arrange the prepared strawberries in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Make sure to leave some space between the berries to allow air circulation.
Step 5: Set the temperature on your dehydrator to around 135°F (57°C), which is the optimal temperature for drying strawberries. The drying time can vary depending on the dehydrator model and the thickness of the strawberries.
Step 6: Place the trays in the dehydrator and let the strawberries dry for approximately 8 to 12 hours. Check them periodically to monitor the progress. The berries are ready when they are dry, slightly leathery, and have no moisture inside.
Step 7: Once the strawberries are fully dehydrated, remove the trays from the dehydrator and let them cool completely. It’s important to allow them to cool before packaging to prevent condensation and preserve their texture.
Step 8: Store the dehydrated strawberries in airtight containers or resealable bags. It’s recommended to use glass jars or vacuum-sealed bags for optimal storage. And thats it!!! Remember to keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Dehydrated strawberries can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, added to granola or cereal, used in baking recipes, or rehydrated for various culinary purposes. Enjoy your homemade dehydrated strawberries!
How to Use Dehydrated Strawberries
Snacking: Dehydrated strawberries make a delicious and healthy snack on their own. Enjoy them straight out of the container for a sweet and tangy treat.
Trail Mix: Add dehydrated strawberries to your favorite trail mix combination along with nuts, seeds, and other dried fruits for an energy-boosting snack.
Cereal and Oatmeal Topping: Sprinkle dehydrated strawberries on top of your breakfast cereal, granola, or oatmeal to add a fruity and crunchy element.
Baked Goods: Incorporate dehydrated strawberries into your baking recipes. Chop them into small pieces and add them to muffins, cookies, cakes, or bread for a delightful burst of strawberry flavor.
Yogurt and Smoothies: We like to mix dehydrated strawberries into our yogurt or blend them into smoothies to enhance the taste and add some texture. They rehydrate slightly when combined with liquids, giving your yogurt or smoothies a fruity twist.
Salads: Crumble or chop dehydrated strawberries and sprinkle them over salads. They can add a unique sweetness and vibrant color to your greens.
Ice Cream and Desserts: Crush or blend dehydrated strawberries to create a powder or small pieces and use them as a topping for ice cream, yogurt parfaits, or desserts like cheesecakes or puddings.
Infused Water or Tea: Drop a few pieces of dehydrated strawberries into a glass of water or tea and let them infuse for a refreshing and flavorful beverage.
Fruit Compotes and Sauces: Rehydrate dehydrated strawberries by soaking them in water or fruit juice. Once they soften, you can use them to make fruit compotes or sauces to drizzle over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.
Remember that dehydrated strawberries have an intensified flavor compared to fresh strawberries, so you might want to adjust the quantity accordingly based on your preference. Enjoy experimenting with these ideas and incorporating dehydrated strawberries into your favorite recipes!