Dehydrate strawberries to take advantage of strawberry season which is short but oh so sweet! It's a quick and easy project that you can also convert into Strawberry Powder!
Did you know that one of the best beginning dehydrator projects to do is dehydrating strawberries? They are almost fool-proof!
Here's another fact: Strawberries are not technically berries? It's true.
Botanically, strawberries are really aggregate fruits, NOT a true berry. Berries are fleshy fruits deriving from a single flower ovary, and contain their seeds on the inside of their flesh, while strawberries store their seeds on the outside of their flesh, and derive from multiple flower ovaries.
Other fruits that are actually berries might surprise you:
This really doesn't affect how you preserve strawberries, it's just a fun little piece of gardening trivia to share at your next dinner party.
How to Keep Strawberries Fresh
Many people recommend washing soft flesh berries like strawberries and raspberries before storing them.
I disagree. Moisture from those berries are what contribute to the berries molding quickly, so I like to store just as they are in the fridge until I need to get them ready to dehydrate.
I wash only as I'm ready to use. While I'm pretty steadfast with this practice and raspberries, I can be a little more forgiving of strawberries if I know we'll be using them within a day or two - I'll go ahead and wash immediately.
If, however, you find that you need to pick out a few bad fruits and wash the container for possible mold spores, this is how I do it.
- Pick out any bruised or molded fruit;
- Place the berries in a water bath of 2:1 water to the vinegar solution. There are even studies that suggest a simple wash in water is more beneficial because the amount of vinegar you have to use is so high, anything less is just wasting it.
- Wash the clamshell container your strawberries are in, and dry thoroughly,
- Place a paper towel at the bottom of the container.
- Dry strawberries thoroughly by laying out on a towel or gently spinning in a salad spinner, and then allow to dry. I really love my upgraded salad spinner from OXO.
- Place strawberries back into your container.
- Return to refrigerator.
If keeping in the clamshell is not, there are new containers that allow you to keep strawberries better in the fridge. They are designed to help you keep optimum conditions to help your produce last as long as possible.
And before we start, there is the argument of organic vs non-organic. Strawberries usually top the list. Inform yourself, make your choice, and enjoy your food.
How to Dehydrate Strawberries
Quick Dehydrating Tip: Dry at 125F or lower to help stop strawberries from browing. Dehydrate strawberries for 6-10 hours depending on the many variables listed below.
1. Wash your strawberries thoroughly.
Place the berries in a water bath of 2:1 water to the vinegar solution. There are even studies that suggest a simple wash in water is more beneficial because the amount of vinegar you have to use is so high, anything less is just wasting it.
2. Hull the strawberries.
How to Hull:
- Use a paring knife to just cut a 'v' under the greens and pull them off.
- Use a hulling tool like mine or even this cute strawberry huller by OXO.
- Use a metal or glass straw to push out the greens. This method, however, is a bit messy and wastes a little more of the fruit, but is quick once you get the hang of it.
And here's a tip - don't throw away those green tops - you can dehydrate them, too! They can be ground to add to your green powder, or you can use them to make strawberry tea. (See more ideas at the bottom of the post!)
3. Slice your strawberries into ¼" slices.
You can do this any way you'd like - or even just cut into small chunks.
4. Arrange onto dehydrator trays
It's important to not let the fruit touch. They don't react the same way that herbs and greens do, so they need their space!
5. Dry at 125°F / 52°C for 6-10 hrs.
Dry until the strawberries are dry and pliable. While the recommendation for fruit is 135F / 57C, I keep it on the low side to help keep as much of the nutrition in the fruit as possible.
Dehydrating Frozen Strawberries
Depending on the type of packing your strawberry has determines the next steps:
- Thaw in a colander over a bowl - save the juice (or syrup), reduce and make for a syrup later
- You can place frozen strawberry slices directly into your dehydrator
- Dry at 125F/52C to reduce browned edges.
- Prepare strawberries as above.
- Place on cooling racks that are lined with parchment paper.
- Place on a cooling rack onto a cookie sheet for easier movement. This rack allows more airflow while also keeping strawberries off the solid hot surface.
- Dry at the lowest possible temperature setting on your oven. You can flip them once to help reduce sticking.
- Crack the door open with an oven-proof spatula. Be mindful of mobility-impaired individuals or children.
- Watch for browning - ovens tend to be hotter than necessary for drying strawberries, so the time will be much quicker, between 3-8 hours - so keep a sharp eye out burning.
- Continue with the following steps
When Are Dried Strawberries Done?
- Typically takes a batch like this about 8 hours to dry when sliced thin, up to 12-18 hours if done in halves.
- Strawberries should be dry to the touch like paper, and pliable - but will probably not shatter the way vegetables would when completely dry.
- Allow to come to room temperature and test again for the same effect. If they are bendy (as opposed to pliable), put them back in to dry more.
The next step: Conditioning
Conditioning is a vital step to dehydrated food storage that many tutorials and books neglect to mention.
Conditioning allows you to make sure that your food is evenly dry, has no moisture hiding that can cause mold down the road, and allows you to safely store your food in your pantry. Dehydrated strawberries, like other fruits, can mold easily if not properly dried and conditioned, so don't skip this step!
How to Store Dried Strawberries
- For everyday use - an airtight mason jar is just fine.
- For longer-term storage - vacuum sealing is the best option. Mason jars that have been vacuum-sealed either with a vacuum sealing machine or O2 absorbers. I prefer using the Foodsaver Handheld vacuum sealer and the jar attachments needed.
- Airtight container with a desiccant pack to absorb any moisture. The desiccant pack is to help absorb any moisture that may be lingering during storage or from opening the jar often. It does NOT replace the conditioning method. It only helps to absorb the moisture introduced by opening the jar often.
- Mylar storage bags with O2 absorbers.
How to Use Dried Strawberries:
- Straight out of the container for snacks
- Trail mix - just like you might add any other fruit
- Muffins (add a little extra moisture to your batter)
- Oatmeal - just like you might add fresh strawberries - just allow them to rehydrate a bit before eating
- Smoothies - add to your morning smoothies
- Pack in lunches
How to Make Strawberry Powder
READ MORE: 25+ Ways to Use Fruit Powders
If you dry your strawberries well, you may want to make strawberry powder.
- Place strawberry slices or fruit leather chips into a blender or grinder of your choice.
- Pulse until thoroughly powdered.
- Place back into the dehydrator using lipped dehydrator sheets or use this DIY dehydrating tray hack. Alternatively, place on a shallow cookie sheet or bowl and place a piece of parchment paper over the top.
- Dry for up to an hour in your dehydrator, or place in an oven with the light on to help dry any residual moisture in the powder.
- Store in an airtight container.
My preferred way:
Alternatively, preheat your oven to its lowest temperature, turn off the oven, and place a cookie sheet with powder in the oven to dry for 15-20 min, then continue with storage.
LEARN MORE: How to Stop Clumping in Dehydrated Powders
DEHYDRATING TIP: If your goal is to create strawberry powder and not have extra dehydrated slices around, doing a strawberry puree makes things so much easier.
- Hull (or don't if you're like me and use the entire strawberry)
- Throw all into a blender or food processor
- Pour puree onto fruit leather sheets
- Dry at 135F until dry
Uses for Strawberry Powder
- Strawberry Lemonade frosting - choose a lemon frosting or icing of your choice mix in 1-2 TB of strawberry powder for a wonderful topping to cupcakes.
- Rice Krispies Treats -- See a video version of the tutorial here.
- Dip bananas into before dehydrating.
- Add to breakfast yogurt
- Strawberry Snow Cream
LEARN MORE: 25+ Ways to Use Fruit Powders
Uses for Strawberry Tops
YES! Strawberry greens are completely edible. So there's no sense wasting that hull or the sliced top if you don't want to just compost it!
- Puree fully, blend with a little applesauce, and make fruit leather
- Your small pets may love them for an occasional treat
- Add to water or mineral water to create a refreshing drink. You can add the strawberry tops along with other fresh fruit and make the best drinks that actually taste like the fruit! Just let them soak a while and pull all those vitamins, minerals, and flavors! There are some cool, flavoring water bottles that allow you to put the fruit into a centralized capsule that keeps the pulp and seeds out while you enjoy just the water if you're not a fan of floaty things in your water like me. I just refill the bottom during the day with cold water.
- Add to teas for brewing.
- Powder to add to DIY tea blends. A fine mesh tea ball or reusable tea bags are great for this.
- Feed to small pets like rabbits for treats (please be sure they are approved sources of nutrition for your pet, first)
- Blend into a powder and add to green powder (a little extra fruit flesh isn't going to negate the benefits of green powder at all!)
Learn more about drying fruits
- Wash strawberries thoroughly
- Hull strawberries (remove green tops)
- Slice Strawberries into ¼" slices
- Add to dehydrator trays
- Dry at 135F for 6-10 hours
- Store in an airtight container