At their peak of ripeness, fresh strawberries are quite possibly the perfect fruit. Trouble is, their peak is short-lived. Dehydrated strawberries capture the sweet and wonderful flavor so you can enjoy them for months (and months). Add dried strawberries to your favorite trail mix or a bowl of granola.
Be sure to give this strawberry compote recipe a try, too!
If you’ve grown strawberries or have access to farm fresh berries, you know that they can go from “still too green” to overripe in the blink of an eye. When you hit it just right, though? Fresh fruit nirvana. Strawberry salsa, strawberry cobbler, strawberry milkshakes, strawberry jam.
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When there are more perfectly ripe strawberries than you can devour fresh, dehydrating them is a great solution. (You should also try your hand at making strawberry mead!) With dried strawberries, there’s no need for added sugar, making for snacks that are great for popping into the lunch box or taking on a hike.
Some people like to make fruit leather out of summer ripe fruit, but if I’m honest? I’m too lazy for that. I find simple dried fruit slices to be much easier — it requires just slicing and drying, skipping the pureeing and rolling steps.
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Strawberries — These soft fruits are listed on the on the Dirty Dozen list put out by the Environmental Working Group, so you might want to opt for the organic berries. Opt for firm, ripe strawberries that are full of flavor.
Dried Strawberries in a Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a specialized appliance specifically made for drying fruits, veggies, and meat. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all include a number of trays that allow warm air to freely circulate.
I’ve had an Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator for years. We use it frequently for dehydrating bananas and apples and making beef jerky (check my book for that recipe). That said, you don’t need a dehydrator to dry strawberries. There are a couple of other ways to save that flavor.
Oven Dried Strawberries
Drying strawberries in the oven uses equipment most people already have on hand. It’s not the most energy-efficient method, but it does the trick in a pinch.
Drying fruit requires low heat. On newer ovens, the “bread proofing” setting is probably the best way to dry fruit.
Place sliced strawberries on a wire rack on baking sheets. This allows the air to flow around the slices. Alternatively, you can line each sheet with parchment paper.
Drying Strawberries in an Air Fryer
While I was visiting mom, I picked up some absolutely perfect strawberries at the farmers market. I ate lots fresh, but I also used her air fryer to preserve some to bring home. The air fryer worked much like my dehydrator, resulting in tasty dried berries.
One down side: The air fryer doesn’t hold as much as my large dehydrator. It wouldn’t be a great solution if you needed to dry a lot of fruit at once. Use it if you have one, certainly, but my money’s still on the dehydrator for best use of energy and time.
Preparing Strawberries for Dehydrating
No matter which method you opt to use, preparing the berries will be the same. Wash the berries and remove the little green stems.
Slice strawberries to about 1/8 inch thick slices using a sharp knife. I find that cutting most large berries into four equal pieces is a good plan.
Spread the sliced berries out on the tray of a dehydrator or air dryer, or a wire rack in the case of oven drying. Put them close together but not touching.
Process as suggested below, noting that the time called for will vary substantially based on the method you use.
Strawberries are done when you are able to pull them from the dehydrator sheet in one piece that feels leathery and pliable.
Storing Dried Strawberries
Place dried berries in a jar that allows for plenty of extra space. Over the next couple of days, shake the berries in the jar. This conditions the dried fruit.
Due to inconsistent thickness, some pieces of fruit may retain a bit more moisture than others. As a result, moisture levels can vary within a single slice of fruit.
The excess moisture in some pieces will be reabsorbed by drier pieces. If any condensation appears on the inside of the jar itself, there’s still too much moisture in the fruit. Return it to the dehydrator to remove more moisture.
After several days of shaking, store berries in an airtight container for up to six months.
★ Did you make these dehydrated strawberries? Don’t forget to give them a star rating below! ★
- 1 pint strawberries per dehydrator tray
- Wash strawberries and remove stems. (There are special strawberry hullers, but I just use a knife.)
- Slice the strawberries about 1/8 inch thick. Aim for uniform thickness so all of the slices will dry at the same rate. I find that cutting most large berries into four equal pieces is a good plan.
In the dehydrator
- Place sliced strawberries on trays, close together but not touching. Dry on 135ºF for 4 to 6 hours or until strawberries are leathery.
In the oven
- Place wire racks on a rimmed baking sheet. Place sliced strawberries on racks, close together but not touching.
- Set oven to 200 degrees or lower, with the ideal temperature being 135ºF. This will depend upon your oven. The bread proofing setting on newer ovens works well. On older ovens, you'll likely have to set it at the lowest temperature. Even then, you may need to prop the door open to prevent it from getting too hot. (You don't want to cook the strawberries!)
In the air fryer
- Place sliced strawberries on trays, close together but not touching. Dry on 135ºF for 4 to 6 hours or until strawberry slices are leathery.
Cool completely, then store in an air tight container at room temperature for months. (You can extend their shelf life by adding one of these DIY desiccant packs to the storage container.)
Adjust the quantity of strawberries according to how many you have on hand. You'll use the same cooking time no matter how full your dehydrator or air fryer is.
One basket of strawberries will cover about one 10” x 12” tray. This amount nets one cup of dried berries.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 29Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g