Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dehydrating Strawberries

As I lay in bed on Sunday morning reading The Feast Nearby I found the inspiration needed to get up and go to the Stirling Farmers' Market: dehydrated strawberries. Knowing that I would be able to get a box of cooking strawberries for $5, I changed and headed off with fruit basket in hand. As school goes back this week, a selection of apples would also be needed as lunch box fillers.

I wasn't disappointed with my $5 box.

After washing, hulling and slicing (and a bit of eating as payment to kiddo for helping), there were four trays worth of strawberries ready to go into the over. As there are only two shelves in my oven, I laid the fruit on two trays but also on two airing racks on top of the trays.

You can see the layer of sliced fruit under the rack.

Then the slow process started.

As strawberries contain a lot of water, I read that it is important to leave the door of the oven ajar. My oven is one of those appliances that I am looking forward to breaking down: the door doesn't work properly, there is no window in the door and there is no interior light. I managed to keep the door slightly open by using a wooden spoon to let the moisture escape. (The temperature was so low that the wood was fine.)

After two hours 

After four hours 

After six hours

After eight hours

After 10 hours

After 12 hours

By this time I was off to bed so I turned the oven off and opened the door to let the air and moisture out. 

In the morning some were still a little moist so I turned the oven back onto that low heat. The main mistake was that in my morning hazy-brain I didn't remove the ones that were pretty dry. This meant that at the end some were a little crunchy rather than chewy as I think they were a bit cooked rather than dried. I am pretty sure that these will still be great stirred through some yoghurt.

Final product.

Things I would do differently next time.
  • Slice the strawberries into pieces of the same thickness, rather than halve and quarter.
  • Use drying racks only rather than baking paper.
  • I would love to try this with a solar dryer.
I remember that last time I tried dehydrating fruit, pears were a huge hit. It was like these had been coated in sugar. They were delicious.

What do you dehydrate?

Take care


  1. What a fabulous bargain! For $5 I can get a small punnet which would need to be eaten within two days.
    I am sure you could locate a food dehydrator on Freecycle or at a lawn sale at a good price.
    The thought of leaving exposed food overnight sends my tropical brain into spasm.

    1. Oh I didn't realise you could dehydrate that way. I'm not quite ready to buy a dehydrator yet so this is great news. x

    2. Lousie, I don't know why these are classed as 'cooking strawberries" as the kiddoes generally scoff most of them before I get anywhere near them. : )
      I have asked for a dehydrator on Freecycle but didn't managed to get one. I'll need to keep my eye out again. I couldn't imagine living in humidity.

    3. Mel, I hired a dehydrator before and that was good but we kept snacking on the half dried bits. Tomatoes are great done in the over too. So sweet.
      I hoped you'd notice the tea towel. ; )

  2. Dehydrators can be quite expensive but if you can get a whole box of strawberries for $5 then I think I would get my hands on one and give it a go. They look delicious and kids would love them!

    1. These certainly were delicious. I put some in some yoghurt for lunch today and it was fabulous.

  3. Really, that box at the top was just $5?? I'm impressed!
    I haven't dehyrdrated anything for ages. I've used my mum's ancient old one, and it wasn't bad. Although I suspect the newer ones are a bit more time/energy efficient. I haven't tried anything in the oven though. I think it was Tricia from Little Eco Footprints, did bananas in her car once? I liked the idea of that, an easy solar oven... although, I think things would smell a little banana-ery for quite a while.

    1. I really want to have a go at some solar dehydrating. It does feel a bit naughty using power for 12 hours. I saw a great dehydrator where they used two fly screens clipped together to keep bugs out.


Thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate any comments you have to make.

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