Strawberries are a known favorite fruit to most. However, they can only be enjoyed through the months of April through July. But, there is a way to enjoy strawberries year round. Dehydrating strawberries is a great way to make sure that you and your family can also enjoy this delicious fruit year round.
There are several steps involved in dehydrating strawberries. However, this article will help those who are just starting on this journey to perform the process correctly.
The first step is to find the strawberries. You will want to choose those that are red and ripe. You will want to make sure that these are of the highest quality. Most people who dehydrate their strawberries prefer to pick them themselves or go to the local farmers market, versus buying them in a store so that they can see the condition of each strawberry. This is also a great way to ensure that you are finding completely organic strawberries versus those that have been treated with chemicals that are found in grocery stores.
Step two involves cleaning. Once you have your strawberries, you will need to wash them. Most people choose to wash them the strawberries in a vinegar and water solution that is half and half. Then, rinse with plain water. This kills the germs completely, and does not involve the use of unsafe chemicals. Once the strawberries have been washed, you will need to remove the cap, which is the stem of the strawberry. You will also need to remove any bad spots that may be present on the berry.
The third step is to cut the strawberries. Most people find that it is the best to cut the strawberries in ½ inch slices. This allows for the berries to be basically the same size, and take around the same amount of time to dry. You will want to place these on a cookie sheet or something similar and make certain that the strawberries do not overlap.
The fourth step involves the actual dehydrating process. There are three main methods to use: the sun or air drying, the oven or a food dehydrator. For those just starting out, the first two of the three options are probably going to be what you choose, unless you have already purchased a dehydrator. If using the sun/air drying method, you will need the temperature to be around one hundred degrees with little or no humidity, and the sun shining brightly. You then place the sheet of strawberries on a window sill and let nature do the work. For those wanting to use their oven, simply place the strawberries in the oven at 130 degrees. The oven method is usually the method used as it does not require preplanning for weather conditions and uses tools that you already have. For those using a food dehydrator simply place the berries in the dehydrator and follow the instructions. The amount of time for each of these methods varies. You want the berries to be crisp yet still bendable, so check them periodically.
The last step involves storing your dehydrated strawberries. Most people choose to use glass jars that are used in canning to preserve their strawberries. However, plastic containers that seal well are also a great way. For those who can vacuum seal the berries in a bag, they will notice that the strawberries may keep longer.
Hydrating strawberries is not a complex process and the results of the work done are enjoyed by all throughout the entire year. This is also a great way to have a healthy snack at all times of the year.