Strawberry season here is fleeting. One minute the stores are loaded with flats of juicy, fresh, local berries. The next you’re back to buying imported, colourless, tasteless berries. I’ve tried my hand at some amazing strawberry recipes (see below) but I’m always looking for ways to preserve the taste of summer before its gone.
My strawberry freezer jam was a great first step at preserving. Since I have started to watch what I’m eating a little more closely, I’m trying to stay away from too much sugar in my diet. This means to get my strawberry fix it is either with fresh berries or the next best thing: Strawberry candy!
You may think “Candy? while you’re watching what you eat?” but using my trusty dehydrator means that I can preserve these amazing berries and all of their flavour and vitamins and enjoy them all year round!
I’ve written a post about dehydrating before and just how easy it is and you can find that here. In a nut shell, dehydrating is a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables. If dehydrated and stored properly, dehydrated fruits can be kept in your house up to five years. On top of that, most vegetables will keep up to ten years!
Dehydrating Strawberries: Preparation
The main importance with dehydrating strawberries is the need to cut them all the same thickness. Usually a thickness of 1/8″- 1/4″ depending on what you prefer. The next most important part of dehydration is to place the strawberries universally separated on the trays.
Strawberries are best dehydrated at 130F-145F for 8-10 hours, depending on how dry you like them. Drying can range from leathery to completely dry and crispy. After the allotted dehydration times, it is important to let the fruit cool for a half hour, then open up the fruit to test how the consistency is.
Dehydrating Strawberries: Storage
Before committing the strawberries to long-term storage, it is extremely important to be sure there is no excess moisture left in the fruit. If there is any moisture left at all, the fruit will not store and will spoil, or worse, make your family sick.
The best way to test for moisture is to place a few strawberries in a glass jar (about half full). Shake the fruits around a few times over the next few days, up to a week. If any condensation forms, back in the dehydrator they go!
I have been burned by my patience (or lack thereof) before and it isn’t fun. Better safe than sorry!
What is your favorite way to enjoy strawberries? Let me know!
Other Strawberry Recipes from the Crow’s Nest: