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How to Dry Strawberries in a Dehydrator

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Sun-dried strawberry & raspberry
Kemi H Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images

Dried strawberries are fantastic on cereal, as a crisp snack, or as part of a trail mix blend of dried fruits and nuts. Strawberries keep their color when they are dehydrated without an acidic solution pre-treatment (unlike apples, pears and many other fruits).

Remember that your dried strawberries will only be truly delicious if you start out with good quality fresh fruit. With strawberries, that means delightful aroma and a strong burst of flavor when you bite into them. Although supermarket strawberries are available year-round, the best ones are grown near you and are usually in season in spring and early to mid summer.

Wash and Hull the Strawberries

Wash the strawberries and let them drain in a colander for a few minutes. Slice off and compost or discard the hulls (the green parts).

Slice the Strawberries

Slice the strawberries crosswise or from top to bottom. The direction you slice them is less important than the thickness. The pieces need to be all of approximately the same thickness or they won't dry evenly. Aim for 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick slices.

Arrange the Sliced Berries on the Dehydrator Trays

Arrange the strawberry slices on the dehydrator trays so that there is at least a half inch of space between the slices.

Dry the Strawberries

Set the dehydrator's temperature to 135 F/57 C. It will take 8 - 10 hours to fully dry the strawberries; 10 - 14 hours if you want them to be crisp rather than pliable. The pieces should feel totally dry to the touch.

Cool the Dried Fruit

You won't be completely sure if the strawberry pieces are fully dehydrated until they have cooled (you know how cookies crisp up after you take them out of the oven? Same deal with dried fruit). Turn off the dehydrator and open it. Let the strawberries cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

After the cooling off period, break one of the pieces of fruit in half. There should be no visible moisture along the surface of the break. I like to dry strawberries until they are crispy-dry (rather than the leathery texture I aim for with dried apples or pears).

Condition the Dried Strawberries

Even after the strawberries are correctly dehydrated there may still be some residual moisture in the fruit that you can't feel. This shouldn't be enough to prevent the fruit from being safely preserved and mold-free. But you'll have a tastier, better product if you do what is called "conditioning" the dried fruit.

Put the dried, cooled fruit pieces into glass jars, only filling the jars about 2/3 full. Cover the jars. Shake the jars a couple of times a day for one week. This redistributes the fruit pieces as well as any moisture they may still contain. If any condensation shows up on the sides of the jars, your fruit isn't dried well enough yet and it needs to go back into the dehydrator for a few hours.

Once your dried strawberries are conditioned, store them in airtight containers away from direct light or heat. It's okay to fully fill the jars at this point: the 2/3 full was just for the conditioning phase when you needed to be able to shake the pieces around.

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