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We all love the taste of fresh juicy strawberries, especially when the sweet juices of the fruit roll down your lips as you munch one after the other. Whether you prefer to eat them whole as a snack, or blend them to make a tasty milkshake. What if I told you that we could turn these strawberries into little delightful crisps? With sweet and tart flavors that can be easily added to yoghurt, or a morning smoothie. Having a dehydrator is a great advantage because you can preserve almost any kind of fruit, vegetable or meat that you like. So if you’re worried that your freshly brought strawberries are going to go bad by the next afternoon, then this is a fantabulous solution for you.
Table of Contents
- What Does Dehydrate Mean?
- About Dehydrators
- What Else Can I Do With A Dehydrator?
- How To Preserve Fruits?
- Recipes For Dehydrated Strawberries
- Dehydrating Strawberries
- Can You Dehydrate Strawberries In The Oven?
- Strawberry Powder
- How To Use Dehydrated Strawberries?
- Uses For Strawberry Tops
- So How Do We Dehydrate Strawberry Slices?
What Does Dehydrate Mean?
Dehydration is the process of eliminating moisture from food. When moisture is removed from food it is less likely to grow mold or become a nice home for microorganisms to burrow into, thus dehydrating food makes them last longer, so you can enjoy your favorite foods for longer! You can dehydrate foods like bell peppers, strawberries, apples, mangoes, courgette, sweet potatoes and more.
Dehydrators dry foods out by circulating air at a very low temperature, the foods must be arranged in a single layer without touching so they can dry out completely. Different temperatures are recommended for different types of foods that you plan to preserve, based on their water content. Since strawberries are a water-dense fruit, they’ll benefit from a higher temperature like 135° F so that they can dry quickly. Vegetables can be dried at a lower temperature, like 125° F. Delicate foods like herbs should be dehydrated at an even lower temperature like 95° F to prevent over-drying and discoloration.
What Else Can I Do With A Dehydrator?
Having a dehydrator at home is great for making little treats for yourself and the family. You can make dry homemade pasta, ferment yoghurt, make fruit leather, granola bars, dog treats, re-crisp stale foods like cookies and biscuits and more. You can also dehydrate peppers and green peppers to make ground chili, or simply store the little crippled peppers in an airtight container, so that they’re all preserved for the next time you wish to use them.
How To Preserve Fruits?
Summer is a great time for lovers of fresh fruit and vegetables, with markets stacked to the brim with delicious fruits that you may only find once a year. It is quite disheartening to have your favorite fruits around for such a limited time, and unless you plan on travelling halfway across the globe to sought out those fresh, impeccable fruits, you won’t be seeing them once summer ends.
Fortunately the universe has allowed us to evolve and create a handy device that can preserve out favorite fruits all year round. From strawberries, mangoes, and oranges to tomatoes, bell peppers and courgette, once you’ve started to dehydrate your first batch of fruits, you wont stop! Especially when you bite into the delightfully crispy treat.
Here are a couple methods of preserving fruits and vegetables:
Drying fruits and vegetables requires removing the water content, which unlike other methods of preservation, will change the taste and texture of the fruit. Once the fruit has been dried it can be stored in clean conditions. The simplest way to preserve fruits and vegetables during winter is with a dehydrator, just load the machine with your food and select the appropriate setting, taking care to set the temperature higher or lower depending on the amount of moisture in the food.
The process of drying fruits and vegetables is to suck out all the moisture they hold so that they can be eaten all year round without spoiling. If you don’t have a dehydrator, then this process will work in the oven, simply preheat the oven at 130-160 degrees and rotate your baking tray every hour, and continue drying until the slices are leathery.
An easy way to ensure your fruits and vegetables last you the entire winter is by freezing them. Although freezing can damage softer fruits like strawberries – changing their texture completely, its also worth knowing that freezing fruits doesn’t necessarily eliminate bacteria, many becoming dormant after it has defrosted.
If you decide to freeze your fruits, then its best to freeze them on a metal tray. once they’re completely hard transfer them to a sterile, airtight freezer bag, treating the fruits that tend to go bad with ascorbic acid first.
Recipes For Dehydrated Strawberries
Now that you have a whole jar of preserved strawberries, there are many ways that you can enjoy this delicious crispy fruit.
- Straight out of the container for snacks
- Trail mix
- Packed in lunch
Start by picking the most delicious, firm, and vibrant red fresh strawberries, that emanate a strong berry scent. Avoid the strawberries that are bruised or overripe.
Steps to Dehydrate Strawberries In a Dehydrator
- Prepare the strawberries for dehydrating by washing them carefully in a sink of cold water with a splash of vinegar (this will destroy any harmful bacteria). Rinse the berries when they come out of the sink, and allow it to dry completely as excess moisture will prolong the drying time.
- Cut off the tops of the berries, and cut out any green stems left in the strawberry.
- Slice the strawberries into quarter inch thick slices, using a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer. A mandolin is great for using on firm strawberries, but if yours are fairly ripe then you can use a knife.
- Spread the sliced strawberries on a dehydrator tray, leaving gaps between the fruit to improve air flow.
- Dehydrate the strawberry slices at 135° F for 8 to 10 hours, or until they adopt a leathery and crisp texture. To check if they are done, remove one or two slices from the dehydrator and allow them to cool. Once they’re cool slice them or break them down the middle, and if you find that there is any moisture present, then put them back in the dehydrator for longer. The strawberries must feel leathery and quite flexible, it is better for the strawberries to be too dry than not dry enough and risk spoilage.
- Once the strawberries have dried, let them cool on the dehydrator trays for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Transfer your berries to a sterilised airtight container for storage.
Can You Dehydrate Strawberries In The Oven?
The answer is yes! If you don’t have a dehydrator you can create dried fruit in the oven, with the temperature set to low followed by a little patience you can make this delicious crisp treat and have your kitchen smell amazing whilst the oven works its magic.
How To Make Baked Strawberry Chips?
- When making dried strawberries in the oven, you have to make sure that they are sliced thick enough so that they don’t tear when turning.
- Preheat the oven to 200° F, and start to slice your strawberries into 1/8 inch thick slices. If you slice the strawberries any thicker it’ll take longer to dehydrate.
- Arrange the strawberries on parchment paper, leaving space between each slice.
- Bake at 200° F for approximately 2 hours until the tops of the strawberries are dry.
- Peel the strawberries from the parchment paper and flip them over, continue to bake for another 30 minutes to an hour until they’re fully dehydrated.
- Remove the dried strawberries from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Store the strawberry chips in an airtight container at room temperature. They can be stored for several months without spoiling.
Strawberry powder is made by blending your dehydrated strawberries in a blender, and blending until powdered, then place them back into the dehydrator using lipped dehydrator sheets. Dry the powder for up to an hour to help suck out the moisture and then store it in an airtight container.
How To Use Dehydrated Strawberries?
Although snacking on dehydrated strawberries is great, there are a lot of other fun ways that you can use your dehydrated strawberries. You can add them to:
- Homemade Granola Bars
Or grind them in to a powder to:
- Flavour icing
- Make strawberry cupcakes
- Stir into milk for strawberry flavoured milk or milkshakes
- Blend into smoothies
Uses For Strawberry Tops
You read that right! The green tops of the strawberries are completely edible, so unless you plan to compost it, there’s no point in throwing it away when we can create something divine out of them. You can either have them fresh or dry them on a dehydrator, it really is up to you. Here are a few things you can do with them:
- Puree fully, blend with a little applesauce and make fruit leather – these are a tasty chewy snack
- You could give them to your small pets like rabbits, or hamsters for an occasional treat
- Add to water to create a refreshing drink, you can add strawberry tops along with other fresh fruits and make some amazing drinks that will taste just like fruit. Let them sit in water for a while, so that their flavors and minerals are pulled from their depth and into the water.
- Add to teas for brewing
- Powder to add to DIY tea blends
- Feed to small pets for treats, this will help them gain approved sources of nutrition and minerals
So How Do We Dehydrate Strawberry Slices?
Much like most fruits and vegetables, dehydrating strawberries in the oven or dehydrator will effectively give them a crisp, leathery texture that is great for snacks, or for breakfasts sprinkled over your cereal. You can even store the strawberries in a powder form if you’re feeling especially adventurous and want to experiment with every form of strawberry, collecting the delightful bursts of taste in most of your food, whether its as simple as a granola bar, or an elaborate smoothie.
How Long Does It Take To Dehydrate Strawberries In A Dehydrator?
Set the dehydrators temperature to 135° F and it will take 8 to 10 hours to dry the strawberries, and 10 to 14 hours if you want them to be crisp.
How Do You Dehydrate Strawberries?
Arrange the slices of strawberries on a dehydrator tray allowing 1/2 an inch of space between the slices. Set the dehydrators temperature to 57° C and leave them in there for 8 to 10 hours or 10 to 14 hours for a crisp finish.
How Long Does Dehydrated Strawberries Last?
According to the National center for home food preservation, properly stored dried fruits last up to 10 to 12 months, but the quality of these stored fruits does depreciate if there are warmer conditions.