I introduced Cecelia to dehydrated strawberries last week; as soon as that glorious flavor hit her taste buds her eyes enlarged, she raised her brow and that little hand went back into the jar for more! “Pretty awesome, huh Cece?” She smiled and nodded back in silence. Those little chewy bites of fruit have the ability to magically transport you to a whole other plane of existence. Yeah, they really are that good!
Strawberries can be dehydrated in various ways: I use my food dehydrator but they can also be placed in a very low-heat oven for several hours. It may be faster to use an oven, however, I’m sure that method uses more energy.
strawberries, washed hulled and halved (if your berries are very large you may need to quarter them)
1/2 c honey
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c boiling water
Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add sugar; stir until dissolved. Allow simple syrup to cool a bit (5 minutes) then add honey; stir to incorporate. Dip sliced berries into fruit pretreatment solution (see bottom of page for various methods) then place on a tray in a single layer. Be sure your berries are not touching one another.
Place your dehydrator on the recommended fruit/veggie setting, mine is 135°F (I usually set it for just above that temperature). Since strawberries are mainly composed of water it takes a while for them to finish, usually 8-12 hours. Once the berries become flat and almost leathery they are done.
Remove from trays and store in an air-tight container. Try to not eat them all that first day!
Fruit pretreatment is not required but it helps to maintain dried fruits top quality. Some fruits like apples, peaches and apricots will rapidly oxidize and turn brown once they are exposed to the air. There are various methods for pre-treating fruit: mix 1 tsp absorbic acid (or 3000 mg vit. C tablets, crushed) with 2 cups water and soak fruit for 3-5 minutes, make a dip by mixing 1 cup honey, 1 cup water and the juice of one lemon, or make a simple syrup with sugar and honey as I did.