Processing method: Food Dehydrator
Processing time: 8-12 hours
Dehydrated strawberries are very easy to make and are a perfect way to capture the freshness of the fruit. The sweet and tart flavor of dried strawberries is great to liven up a healthy bowl of cereal, yogurt or a smoothie. The key ingredient is the strawberries you choose. Make sure to pick delicious, fresh strawberries that are very red, firm, and have a strong berry scent.
First make sure all your equipment is clean to avoid contaminating or spoiling your berries. Once you have all your supplies ready, rinse the strawberries under cold running water to remove any debris. Set aside any that are bruised or beginning to mold. Next cut off the tops of the berries, if there is any green stem left in the strawberry use a paring knife to cut it out. Then slice the strawberries ¼”-⅜” thick. You can slice them crosswise or pole to pole—either way works fine. Try to keep the pieces to a uniform size to help with even drying.
Next arrange the strawberry slices in a single layer on a dehydrator tray that has been lined with a mesh screen. Mesh screens will keep the smaller pieces of fruit from falling through the dehydrator tray as they dry and shrink. Leave space between the pieces to allow air to circulate.
Dehydrate at 135ºF (57ºC) for 6-12 hours until the strawberries are dry and leathery or crisp. To check the doneness of the berries, remove a slice or two from the dehydrator and allow them to cool. Once cooled, slice them or break them down the middle, if any moisture is present, they must be dehydrated longer.
Once the strawberries are dried, allow them to cool completely (30-45 minutes). When ready to store put them in airtight containers, like mason jars. Check them daily for a week to check for signs of moisture or condensation, and shake to help prevent the strawberries slices from sticking together. After a week, if there’s no signs of moisture or mold, you can package them for long-term storage (8-12 months). Place in a cool dark location till ready to eat.