Dehydrating Strawberries with a Dehydrator: A Simple Guide

If you’re looking for other ways to preserve your fresh strawberries, making dehydrated strawberries is a delicious and easy snack to make for your family.

Having a dehydrator is a fantastic investment for your family; you can dehydrate almost any type of food. I love dehydrating strawberries when they’re in season – you’ll find that they are a delicious snack for your family and keeps the berries preserved for several months.

My husband loves dried strawberries! They retain their sweetness incredibly well and truly capture the delicious flavor of the fruits in their peak. Dried strawberries taste like summer, and they can be used in all sorts of ways.

Not only do we munch on them as they are, but they taste great in oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt. Try baking them into muffins or mix into granola. There are so many ways to use dehydrated strawberries.

Related: 6 Easy Steps for Planting Bare Root Strawberries in Your Garden

What is Dehydration?

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food that takes far less hands-on time than canning. This method pulls out the moisture from the food, so it becomes dry which inhibits the growth of bacteria in your food. It’s not necessary to have a dehydrator since you can dry foods in the oven or even hang food to dry it out like they did generations ago.

I prefer having a food dehydrator, which uses a heat element and air vents to create air circulation around the food. The heating element, fans, and vents work together, removing moisture from the food you want to dry. The process takes several hours until it’s all dried.

I think dehydrating is a great way to element food waste, and considering food costs and inflation currently, any food waste feels downright sinful. You can use a dehydrator to preserve herbs, fruits, vegetables, and meats.

How Can You Use Dehydrated Strawberries?

Strawberries are found in the grocery stores year-round because of importation and massive greenhouses that make it possible. However, their peak season is June, give or take a month depending on the climate. So, if you head to your local farmer’s market at this time, chances are you’ll see tons of cartons of strawberries.

You don’t even have to grow strawberries to be able to stock up on them. We have several u-pick strawberry fields near us that sell organic berries at a fraction of the price in the stores.

You can do more than just eat the dried berries plain. Here are some ways to use them!

  • Add them to oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt.
  • Put the dry strawberries into a morning smoothie.
  • Grind the dried berries into a powder to use them in frosting, yogurt, smoothies, or a bunch of other ideas.
  • Include the berries in a DIY trail mix.
  • Add the strawberry powder to drinks!
  • Rehydrate and use them over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream – yum!

Related: A No-Fail and Delicious Strawberry Jam Recipe: Perfect For New Canners

All About Dehydrating Strawberries

Dehydrating strawberries in your food dehydrator is so easy, and it’s best done at their peak. You want to always start with the best quality berries to lead to the best quality dried fruits.

Best of all, you really only need a few supplies to get started.

Supplies Needed to Dehydrate Strawberries

  • Food Dehydrator: You don’t have to buy a super expensive dehydrator to dry foods at home. I have the Nesco Snackmaster Food Dehydrator, and it’s more in the middle of the road as far as price. However, you can get one that is far cheaper or more expensive – whatever works fro your budget – and still get the same results.
  • Non-Stick Mesh Screens: These are optional, but after doing a batch without the mesh screens, I realized how much easier it is to have the screens for quick clean-up.
  • Cutting Board: I bet you already have a cutting board on hand. I prefer to cut my strawberries on one because they bleed all over your counter otherwise.
  • Knife: Grab one of the knives out of your drawer for slicing the berries.
  • Colander/Strainer: You’ll need a colander or strainer= to wash off the berries before putting them into the dehydrator.

Dehydrator Note! If you’re picking a dehydrator for the right time, I highly suggest making sure it has an adjustable temperature range. This allows you to pick the temperature to give you the best results based on what you want to dry. I have the Nesco Snackmaster, but the Cosori Premium and Hamilton Beach Digital Dehydrator are two other options you may love!

Pick Strawberries to Dehydrate

The reality is your dehydrated strawberries will only be as good as their starting product. You want fully ripe, plump, bright red strawberries. If they are bruised, have dark spots, or any signs of molds, these aren’t ideal for dehydration.

Put this into your strawberry jam – minus the moldy ones!

On the other hand, if they have a bunch of white on them, then they aren’t quite ripen enough for dehydration. These may be too sour or tart.

If possible, pick organic strawberries that aren’t sprayed with pesticides. Strawberries belong in the top of the “dirty dozen” which means they are more likely to contain pesticide residues, even if you wash them off.

It makes sense considering how delicate and porous strawberry skin really is!

How to Dehydrate Strawberries

Once you have all of your supplies gathered, it’s time to start drying those strawberries! The first thing you need to do is clean off the strawberries, rinsing them under cold water to remove dirt and debris.

Now, it’s time to get started!

Step 1

Use a sharp knife and remove the leaves of the berries. Then, slice the strawberries into whatever thickness you want. I aimed for 1/4 inch thick, but since you aren’t going to measure the strawberries, do your best to make them as uniform as possible.

Step 2

Once you have your strawberries sliced and ready to dry, arrange them in a single layer on one of your dehydrator trays. If you have the mesh screens, I recommend using them because it prevents small pieces from falling through and also makes clean up easier.

You want to make sure none of the strawberry slices touch, but they should be close together. There should be ample space for airflow to move around the berries. Keeping them too close together will cause them to stick together or not dry fully.

Step 3

Set your dehydrator between 135 and 165 degrees F (or whatever the manual recommends for fruits) and put the lid on. It will take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours to completely dry out the fresh slices.

Step 4

Are you wondering how you’ll know if your strawberries are finished dehydrating?

It’s easy! The berries should be pliable when they’re dried but shouldn’t have any evidence of remaining moisture. If you tear it in half and squeeze, no moisture should appear.

If you sliced them thin, they may be able to snap when bent!

How to Dry Strawberries in the Oven

You also can use the oven to dry strawberries, along with other fruit and vegetables, if you don’t have a dehydrator on hand. It will take a few more steps and focus than if you used a dehydrator.

Here is what you need to do.

  • Drag one or two large baking sheets and line them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. I prefer the baking mats!
  • Wash and slice the strawberries just as you would for the dehydrator.
  • Arrange the berry slices on the baking sheets, making sure they are not touching and spaced evenly.
  • Put your oven on the lowest temperature setting possible, and put your baking sheets in the oven.
  • Let the strawberry slices dry for several hours. You may want to flip them halfway through to ensure even drying.

FAQs about Dehydrating Strawberries

How Long Do Strawberries Take in a Dehydrator?

How long it takes to dehydrate strawberries will vary based on the overall thickness of each slice and the dehydrator you select. Some work faster than others, and the temperature you set the food dehydrator at will also change how long it takes to dry the berries.

Overall, expect it to take 6 to 12 hours to fully dry out the berries. I also suggest rotating the trays since the trays closest to the heating element will dry faster than the ones at the bottom. You may also want to fly the slices over to help them dry faster, but I didn’t find it necessary to do so.

How Do You Store Dehydrated Strawberries?

If you plan to dehydrate strawberries for snacking over the next few weeks, all you need to do is put them in a sealed container or a plastic bag in your pantry.

However, one of the perks of dehydrating foods is that they store for longer periods of time when dried and stored properly. Here are some storage tips to keep the berries stored for as long as possible.

  • Make sure the berries are fully cooled before putting them into their storage.
  • Store the berries, once fully dried and determined to be well dehydrated, in a clean, airtight container. Vacuum sealing them will give you a longer storage life. You can do this by using a Food Saver and sealing in the bags OR using a jar attachment for the Food Saver.
  • Consider using an oxygen absorber for long term storage or a moisture absorbing packet if you want to open the jar regularly.
  • Always remember to label the container with the date and what is inside to avoid losing track of your dried foods.
  • Make sure you store your dehydrated foods in a cool, dark, and dry place. Your pantry shelves are ideal!

How Long Will Dehydrated Strawberries Last?

Dried berries will store up to six months, but if there is any moisture left in them, they will only store for up to a week.

However, if you vacuum seal them or use mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, properly dehydrated strawberries easily store for over a year!

Can You Put Sugar on Strawberries Before Dehydrating?

Yes! You can sprinkle sugar over the strawberries to increase the sweetness before dehydrating. However, if you start with sweet berries, there is little need for added sugar.

Should I Blanch Strawberries Before Dehydrating?

No! While some vegetables and fruits with skins need to be blanched before dehydrating to soften the skin, strawberries are not one of those fruits. Water blanching these berries will lose vitamins and some of the flavor.

Dehydrating strawberries is so easy; it only takes a few minutes to prep the fruit and get them into the dehydrator. Don’t let those berries go to waste; dehydrated strawberries are a yummy and healthy snack for all!

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