Here’s how to dehydrate strawberries in a dehydrator. Use either fresh or frozen strawberries for this tasty treat with no added ingredients.
What’s the Difference Between Freeze Dried and Dehydrated?
Dehydrating removes 85-95% of the moisture from food.
Freeze drying removes up to 99% of moisture from food.
Freeze dried food is lighter and will last longer, but is more costly to make and to buy. The machine required is much more expensive than a dehydrator because it requires a vacuum seal chamber and pump to turn water to gas. Home freeze drying equipment costs about $2,000-$8,000.
Dehydrators work by circulating warm air over food to evaporate liquid. Equipment costs about $35 to $600.
Soooo, since most of us are dehydrating strawberries, here’s the recipe! Be sure to keep reading after the recipe for more tips and ideas for using your strawberries.
Recipe for Dehydrated Strawberries
How to Dehydrate Strawberries
- strawberries fresh or frozen
- If using fresh strawberries, wash and pick out any unwanted berries. Remove green tops (these can be dried too to include in herbal tea blends). Pat dry.
- Cut fresh or frozen strawberries (thaw slightly) into equal size pieces, about 1/4" thick (too thin and they'll stick).
- Place strawberries on mesh trays leaving a little space between each slice. Put in dehydrator and dry at 135°F (57°C) for 8 to 10 hours. Time will vary with each dehydrator, thickness of strawberries and with temperature and humidity levels in your house.
- Rotate trays and check strawberries at 4 hours to get a sense of how quickly they are drying.
- Finished strawberries will be pliable and leathery with no signs of moisture. As they cool they will become firmer. If you prefer crispier strawberries, dry longer. Let rest on tray until cooled, at least 2 hours.
- Once cooled totally and completely, place in an airtight container (glass jar is best). To condition the strawberries and ensure they are absolutely dry throughout, watch and shake jar for next 7 days. If the strawberries soften greatly, clump together or if there is any sign of moisture on sides of jar – return to dehydrator. If all is good, store in a cool, dark place for a year or more.
How to Condition and Store Dried Strawberries
Like all fruit, dried strawberries should be conditioned before storing.
Conditioning dried fruit allows the pieces to balance out any moisture differences. After drying, some pieces of fruit have higher amounts of moisture than other pieces. When all the pieces are stored together, the moisture tends to equalize between all the pieces. It takes about 7-10 days for this to happen. This is called conditioning and it’s very easy to do.
Pack cooled fruit loosely in a glass jar. Seal, shake daily and observe for 7 days. If at any point you see any signs of condensation in the jar, dry the fruit more. If the fruit clumps together or goes quite soft, dry the fruit more. If the fruit looks and feels dry after the 7 days – you’re cleared for storing that jar in a cool, dark place for a year or more.
Store dried strawberries in a tightly sealed container, away from light in a room with consistent temperature (ideally cool).
Vacuum sealing is optional.
Helpful Tips When Dehydrating Strawberries
- Your finished strawberries will only be as sweet as the berries you start with. For the sweetest berries, use fresh, local strawberries that are fully ripe. The ones that have a deep red color without any white on the top will make the sweetest most AMAZING dried strawberries.
- Strawberries are sweet and high in moisture, so they have a tendency to stick when dried. If you have flexible, plastic sheets, you can twist and bend the sheets to remove the strawberries. If you have rigid trays, line them in parchment paper (never wax paper), use a light coating of oil (will reduce shelf life if planning to store for a long time) and turn slices about 1 hour into drying process when the tops have started to form a crust. After dehydrating, try putting rigid trays in the freezer to lossen fruit.
- Cut uniform size slices – but not too thin, for strawberries 1/4″ is ideal. If you cut them too thin, they are more likely to stick and be hard to remove from the trays once dried.
- Use a mushroom or egg slicer to create uniform slices.
- When using fresh strawberries, wash and dehydrate the tops with the greens as well. They’re great additions to tea blends. Hey, don’t knock it, strawberry leaves are commonly used in fancy herbal tea blends!
How to Use Dried Strawberries
Dried strawberries are perfect little snacks. All I have to do at our house is leave a jar on the counter and they’re gone in a day! The real strategy is how to prevent your family from eating them so you can use them in other ways!
- in oatmeal or homemade instant oatmeal
- in homemade tea blends
- in trail mix
- in porridge, chia seed pudding or other soft, wet foods
- in granola
- in granola bars – chop into smaller bits
- in muffins, scones and loaves – chop into smaller bits
Other Dried Fruit Recipes
Do you have any questions about drying strawberries? I love getting reader’s questions and comments, please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener. When she’s not working on growing or cooking food, she’s likely hiking or kayaking in the backcountry.