Your Questions About Oven Dried Strawberries

Sharon asks…

How can I dry strawberries?

I really like the dried strawberries in those cereals and stuff. I once tried to sun-dry them, that didn’t work at all, there were so many fruit flies! I have heard that you put them in the oven for a long time. I don’t think that would work b/c im out of the house for hours at a time. I dont think its very safe. thanks

Mike Rich answers:

The best option for you is to use a food dehydrator.
The only way to sun dry them is if the temperature is over 100 degrees for 3 days in a row.
Here are the steps used for using the oven or dehydrator:

Choosing the Strawberries
Choose ripe, red, high quality strawberries for drying. Wash the strawberries by spraying them with white vinegar and rinsing with water. Remove any bad spots and remove the cap.
Cutting the Strawberries
Cut the strawberries uniformly in 1/2 inch slices. This will help them to dry evenly. Spread them out for drying ensuring they are not overlapping each other. Air must be able to circulate freely around the strawberries.
Drying the Strawberries
There are 3 general methods of dehydration: Sun, or air drying, oven drying, food dehydrator. Each have their advantages and disadvantages.
*Sun, or air drying, is the most natural form of dehydration. It requires a warm day with temperatures near 100 degrees and low humidity. Place the strawberries in a sunny window.
*If your oven maintains low temperatures, between 120 and 150 degrees, oven drying is a good choice for occasional use. It does not require the purchase of special equipment and is reliable when the weather is sufficient for dehydration. Place the strawberries in the oven at 130 degrees.
*A food dehydrator consumes less energy than an oven and is the preferred method of dehydration for regular use. If you dry a lot of food, and the weather in your area isn’t ideal for sun drying, a food dehydrator is a consistent, low energy, dehydration method. Place the strawberries on the drying trays and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the dehydrator.

Check them periodically. Strawberries should be almost crisp but remain pliable. If they become crisp and hard, strawberries work well for making powder, (see the rehydration and use tips below) but for other purposes should be considered finished when the strawberries are still pliable.
Storing Dry Strawberries
Pack strawberries in a moisture proof container such as a canning jar, or a sealed plastic container. Vacuum packing strawberries will further prolong their shelf life, but storage in a glass, moisture proof container, is the most natural method. Label the strawberries with the date of preservation. Store in a cool dry place. Strawberries should be used within a year.

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