Dried Strawberries Forever?

freeze dried strawberries

Before we talk about dried strawberries, allow us to share this trivia: strawberry is NOT a berry.

Botanically speaking, strawberry or Fragaria ananassa is an achene. It is a kind of modified fruit wherein its flesh is actually a receptacle that holds the ovaries. The “seeds” that you see outside of the strawberry’s flesh are the ovaries that hold the seeds.

Strawberries appeal to our sight with its bright red flesh spotted with yellowish achenes topped with a bright green cap. They are delicious, vitamin- and fiber-rich, too. However, they only last around five days inside the refrigerator.

So to keep a good supply of strawberries, drying them is one of the food preservation options. Dried strawberries can last for two years if stored in the freezer. Dried strawberries are great in cereal, as a crisp or chewy fruit snack, or as part of fruits and nuts trail mix bar. Unlike other fruits, pretreating strawberries is not necessary to keep its color.

RELATED ARTICLE: A Beginner’s Guide on How to Dehydrate Fruits

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Choosing the Strawberries

The best, dried strawberries start with fresh good quality fruit. Pick strawberries that are firm to the touch and are bright red. They don’t ripe off the vine so gather them while they’re red and ripe.

To keep them fresh prior to drying, it is recommended to refrigerate them first. Discard the moldy, bruised, and overripe strawberries as they are already unsuitable for drying. But you can use them to make dried fruit leather instead.

Handpicked Strawberries

Preparing the Strawberries for Drying

Put the strawberries in a strainer and wash them under cold running water. Rub the berries while washing to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with paper towels and remove the caps or hulls.

Slice the strawberries into 1/8″ to 1/2″ pieces for faster and even drying. Drying them whole or in halves will take longer like between 24 to 36 hours.

Pretreating strawberries for 10 minutes to prevent mold growth and extend shelf life is optional but not necessary. Strawberries don’t lose their color during the drying process, unlike other fleshy fruits.

Arrange the slices on the trays without overlapping by allowing at least a half an inch of space between slices.

Preparing Strawberries

Drying the Strawberries

Using a Food Dehydrator

Rub a little vegetable oil on the dehydrator trays to prevent the strawberry slices from sticking. Put the slices with the skin side down on a single layer and overlapping. Set the food dehydrator’s temperature to 135°F to 140°F until they are pliable to touch but not crunchy. This should take between 6 to 15 hours. The great thing about dehydrating strawberries in a food dehydrator is that you can expect consistent results almost every time.

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Are you thinking of purchasing a food dehydrator for home use? Be sure to check out our recommendations.

Using an Oven

If you’re using an oven to dry the strawberries, lightly oil the cookie sheets to prevent sticking. Put them in the oven at 135°F to 140°F. To maintain this temperature, prop the oven door ajar for the air to circulate. It will also take between 6 to 15 hours for the strawberries to dry.

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The inconvenience of dehydrating strawberries in an oven comes from regulating the temperature by opening and closing the door. This can also result in your kitchen being a little hotter than usual.

Under the Sun

You can dry the strawberries under the sun as long as you have a temperature above 90°F with humidity less than 60%. Cover the drying strawberries with a screen or cheesecloth to stop animals or pests from having a taste before you can.

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Post-drying Conditioning

After drying, turn off the dehydrator and allow the dried strawberries to cool for 20 to 30 minutes or even an hour. Then place them in glass jars, leaving enough space at the top that would allow you to shake it. Shake the jars daily for one week to check for any signs of condensation. If you notice any signs of moisture inside the jar, dry the strawberries for one hour or so and condition them for another week.

Storing Dried Strawberries

Once conditioned enough, store them in airtight containers. It is fine to fill the jars this time. Put them away from direct sunlight or heat especially if left in the pantry. Dried strawberries in the pantry will last for a year. However, dried strawberries stored in the freezer may last up to two years.

Final Thoughts

After getting used to strawberry jams, you might love dried strawberries next. Drying them is easy to do and will last you a long time. There are several ways to use dried strawberries especially in recipes that call for dried fruits.

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