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 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.
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?