Dehydrated Strawberries

Dehydrated Strawberries with my Excalibur Food Dehydrator

When strawberries are in season, take advantage of it! Dehydrated Strawberries!

Buy on sale when the market is flooded with fresh strawberries and use a food dehydrator to preserve them for later!

Strawberries are a great ‘sweet tooth’ addition to your preparedness deep pantry.

When Strawberries are in Season:
Most commercial strawberries in the U.S. are grown in California or Florida, where the strawberry growing season runs from January through November. The peak season is April through June.

Here’s how we dehydrated strawberries at home:

First, we use the Excalibur Food Dehydrator. Yes it’s expensive, but it has lasted for many years and I’m happy that I bought it. No doubt it will outlive me…

Front view of Excalibur food dehydrator

Here’s an article I wrote about: Food Dehydrator Basics.

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Excalibur Food Dehydrator
(view on amzn)

Another popular (Best Seller) dehydrator is the Nesco Dehydrator:
Nesco Food Dehydrator

How I Dehydrated Strawberries With My Excalibur

First, use FRESH good quality strawberries. Important! If they’re starting to get old, your results will reflect that, and they won’t taste so good.

Rinse. Hold the stem end, and slice.
Try to maintain a consistent width (about 1/4″ or less) when slicing.

slicing strawberries
one pound sliced strawberries

1 pound of sliced strawberries fits perfectly on one tray of the Excalibur food dehydrator. So with nine trays, we’re talking about 9 pounds of strawberries!

one pound strawberries on excalibur tray

Dehydrate strawberries at 120 degrees for about 10 hours. Time will vary depending on the moisture content of the strawberries.

They’re done when each strawberry slice feels in-between leathery and brittle.

dehydrate strawberries with excalibur

When finished, store them in an air tight container.

Canning jars work quite well for this! For even longer shelf life, you could apply a vacuum to the jar using a Jar Sealer Accessory for a vacuum sealer equipped with a external hose port.

Jar Sealer Kit
(amzn)

[ Read: Home Dehydrated Food Shelf Life ]

dehyrated strawberries in canning jars

 
Here is a favorite example of one use for dehydrated strawberries:

They can be used in cereal. Yum! Add them to a bowl with some milk and let soak for about 15 minutes to soften them up. Then add cereal and enjoy the flavor – tastes like fresh picked strawberries! Delicious!

dehydrated strawberries in milk

 
When you dehydrate foods, all of the nutrition remains 100 percent intact. Only the moisture is drawn out. This is a very healthy way to preserve and store food.

By the way, a side benefit while dehydrating strawberries is the wonderful aroma that fills the house. Mouth watering…

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38 Comments

  1. Dehydrating food is the way to go for sure, BUT one word of caution…. If your dehydrating peppers, especially the HOT ones like Scorpions or hotter, do it OUTSIDE!!!!!! Go ahead and ask me how I know HAHAHAHA

    A word on those Food Saver’ type vacuum sealer attachment for jars. Get them, and get both sizes.
    Very useful, I use em all the time.

    1. NRP, what gets really rough is when you use a coffee grinder to make powdered pepper without a dust mask….. That stuff is a weapon.

    2. NRP,
      In my humble opinion, even jalapeno dust (magic dust) is hazardous. I make several batches every year. Yes, I do it outside. Well, usually in the garage with both overhead doors and the walk-in door, all open.

      A neighbor grows numerous kinds of hot peppers. Kind of a hobby of his. Some of what he grows is toooooo hot. Maybe could use a tiny bit in a large pot of chili or something similar. I enjoy hot spice, but some of those are not even food. I can tolerate habenero, but that’s my limit.

      I use most of my magic dust, making venison jerky. I do keep a separate pepper shaker on the cabinet, mixed 50% magic dust with 50% black pepper. I use that on everything.

    3. Oh no! πŸ˜‚ thank you for the tip! That’s what my husband was most excited about drying. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸ»

  2. Under no circumstances should anyone ever dilute a quarter cup of honey in a cup of water, warm/stir until diluted, and coat the strawberries prior to dehydration. This will guarantee that they disappear after removal from the dehydrator. I don’t know why this happens, but it does. I think I saw something like this on a Rod Sterling show. Must be aliens.

    1. That’s soooo funny. I tell my grandkids all the time….you won’t like these, don’t bother trying them….next I look, they are GONE!!!

    1. yes it is but we don’t all have the money or room for the equipment to freeze dry.
      dehydrating is a good way to store strawberry’s when they are in peek season and at there cheapest. i would also recommend making jam as a great way to store excess crops !

      1. Bill, not that I don’t use a dehydrator, I have 2 of those. That is best for peppers when yo are going to grind or make into powder. I love my Cayenne pepper.

    2. Yes freeze drying is better. But the cost of a freeze dryer is very expensive out of reach of most people’s budget. Sure hope the prices keep comming down.

    3. Freeze drying may be better, but WE do not have one. I do understand they are a high maintainence item, require a dedicated space,..ie not easily moveable), may need additional wiring or special outlet and are noisy. For those prepping on extreme low budgets are just not an option until prices drop drastically.
      So dehydration, canning, and some simple freezing will have to be our primary way of extending shelf life of perishables. Don’t forget that in addition to making preserves and jellies and jams ,juices can be made/extracted and canned for longer term storage of fruits.This gives quicker solution to securing and if needed jelly can be made later from the resultant juice.

      1. JS
        Not to mention expensive!
        Very expensive,
        They also use a fair amount of electricity,
        Canning and dehydrating are much more cost effective, freeze drying while nice is not a viable solution for everybody, personally the units are way out of touch financially.

  3. I have a model of the Nesco dehydrator, and it works great. I dehydrate large quantities of plums from my tree, and they are delicious. You can’t stop eating them, and then you can’t stop. Know what I mean? Also other types of fruit, and sometimes strawberries. Good stuff to have around. I haven’t tried vegetables yet, but may try this year. Anyone else did vegies ? Got any tips? How about tomatoes?

    1. BigBadCat,
      We also have a Nesco dehydrator and are very pleased with it . We dry plums and apples . We also do diced carrots, diced onions as well as diced and scalloped potatoes. They are handy things to have in the pantry. We have not done tomatoes.There are several online sites with directions on doing that.
      Happy drying.

    2. Big Bad Cat
      Ive done onions, corn and peas. Also do banannas and persimmons, want to try loquats, we have tons of em, quite tasty, i also do jerky in my X calibur, is a great way to do it, ground up then jerky shooter is best but old school works good too

      1. Tommyboy,
        I mix ground burger (deer, elk) with any of the meat marinade sauces and use a ‘shooter’ also. The DW likes to give packages of jerky to the ‘guys’ in the family every Christmas. So I have over produce, then hide my share. Stuff just does not last that long! LOL.

        1. Miner,
          A guy i know turned me on to the jerky shooter, WAYYYYY better, can get better use out of the meat too because all the pieces can go into the grinder, easier to mix flavors in too,

          1. Tommyboy,
            For years I made jerky from various strips of meat left from butchering. Great stuff, but a bit tough on the teeth to chew. I noticed there was not much interest from the liberal side of the family. Then I started using the jerky shooter, mainly for my Uncle who loved the jerky but had difficulties with his teeth chewing it. wow. All of a sudden, the ‘left hand’ side of the family took notice and started liking the game jerky. Not because it was easier to chew, but because “it looks like jerky is supposed to look. ” LOL

          2. MinerJ
            I never knew there was a correlation between hard ta chew and libs,
            I knew there was a correlation between hard ta swallow and liberals, and also liberals who swallow, but never chewing,
            Interesting
            My only thing with liberals will be to chew em up then spit em out,
            That needle is headed for the red zone

        2. I am wanting to try some of our deer meat. I just was iffy on which seasonings to use. And of course now I have to watch how much darn sugar is in everthing!

          1. on venison soak meat in beef stew seasoning, and teriyaki is our fav. we add extra garlic, helps tenderize.

    3. BigBadCat,
      We have had a Nesco dehydrator for many years. Every year I go glean the fields after harvests here. I dried 3 -5 gallon buckets of onions this last Fall. Just sliced them up and dried them on the back porch. Neighbors said that it smelled like a burger joint when they came to visit. Tomatoes and peppers we just sliced and dehydrated also (tomato chips are a treat). Later in the Fall we did 2-4 bushels of Honeycrisp apples. Those we sliced, dipped in ‘lemon water’ and dried. BTW, the reduction in volume was about 5 gallons of veggies or fruit would give you one tightly packed gallon ziplock bag of dried. To get them all dried to crisp, we left them in for 12 hours. That made them dry enough to bag and store without fear of them going bad. The only hiccup was the Nesco dehydrator had an internal fuse finally blow. This after probably 100’s of hours of use. I can’t complain at all. ( I found another fuse, and tore the unit apart and replaced it). I actually gave one of these Nesco dehydrators to my daughter for Christmas. great unit. I do think I will try to buy an Excaliber this year, I can dry a large volume of veggies and fruit, and the larger unit will shorten my overall drying times for the lot. I will still use my Nesco though. If you are careful, you can figure out how to dry tomatoes so they just get ‘leathery’. I want to try this and then preserve them in olive oil.

      1. Minerjim…..

        I have had several Nesco dehydrators. They all have worked quite well. I did learn a lesson for using them. For about $3 get a ‘pocket thermometer’. Drill a 3/16 inch, or whatever is needed, in the middle of the top cover. When using the dehydrator poke the thermometer in the hole and watch the temperature. On mine the actual measured temperature was about 15 – 20 degrees above the thermostat setting. Not sure it made a whole lot of difference but the stuff being dehydrated seemed to be a bit less ‘crispy’ when adjusting the temperature by the thermometer and it may have made the unit last a little longer. The first one worked for about 2 1/2 years. The heater and fan really looked in bad shape when I gutted it trying to fix it. The last one, which I use the thermometer in now, has lasted over 4 years, and is going strong.

        Just a blurb passing along my efforts and their apparent results. For $3 I get almost twice the longevity so far. I likes that.

        1. CrowBait,
          thanks for advice. Using a thermometer would allow me to turn the unit down a bit. I think the fuse blew on mine from overheating, so running it cooler would likely prevent that from happening. I think also running the unit on the back porch in freezing weather may have caused it to draw way too many amps to try and keep up to temp.

    4. Thanks everyone for the great tips. I’m sure I’ll be trying some of them this year.

    5. I dehydrate tomatoes all the time. Great for soups, Stew, sauce ECT. Not a fan of doing veggies. They are ok again for soups but IMHO not very good for anything else. I do carrots, green beans and squash that way.

    6. I do squash, then grind it up into a powder and replace part of the flour in zucchini bread recipes, pumpkin cookies, etc. Have to adjust the recipes a little because there’s less flour, but it works!

        1. I replace a third of the flour in zucchini bread with powdered zucchini, then increase the oil and add the same amount of water as zucchini. It takes some fiddling to get the amounts right.

  4. BigBadCat, We have a different dehydrator that i use frequently. Yellow and zucchini squash,and Okra are some of our fav home dehydrated foods. Both rehydrate easily for frying if that is primary use. DH loves all of these as veggie chips/crunchy. If you know you want to use a snack can season before you dehydrate..no blanching is required for any of these..just wash, remove blemishes, slice evenly and spread in single layer on trays.dry til crispy. store in oxy free glass container if in high humidity area.. hot hands works for this. silica packages from vitamins can be added to environmental absorb moisture.
    Strawberries sounds tasty done this way…have not had enough of those to dehydrate….

  5. Thanks to all that purchase and eat strawberries. It is a crop that my grandparents grew when they first landed in this country. There are still a number of Japanese berry growers making a living in the central portion of California. As teenagers, we grew strawberries and bush beans for the commercial market during the summer.

    I still read the labels of the berries sold in the local markets and look for locations like Watsonville, CA. Santa Maria, CA. etc. There is a small amount of pride knowing that the crops being grown are being shipped to feed the rest of the country.

    Farming is changing as we speak because the fields I used to grow/work in have been turned into housing subdivisions. Very productive land which could crank out 4-5 crops per year.

    1. Calirefugee,
      Loved the strawberry fields outside of Watsonville. Used to buy flats of strawberries big as golf balls, for $6 a flat. Growing up in that state, back then, lots of small Japanese farmers. My Mom always pointed out that after WW2, and their internment, the Japanese could only find and farm some of the poorer pieces of land, like under powerlines, in the Central Valley. She also pointed out how these farms were way more productive than the surrounding farms. Her point was, that these farmers, who had everything taken from them,(unconstitutionally I might add) were able to recover and produce. It was something to be admired by her, and us kids. Hats off to your relations.

  6. Response to Minerjim:

    Some of the Japanese farmers were able to return to fields that were left to friendly non-Japanese farmers and ranchers during internment. When the war was over, the farm was given back to the Japanese who resumed farming.

    The Japanese who were interned have not forgotten this and tales of the Portuguese-Americans who helped the Japanese recover post war were handed down to us children.

    Another tale of morality taught to us through oral history as to who you can trust: Portuguese family types. Who we could not trust: the United States Government. and if you join the Army in war time, you could end up dead or gravely injured. When SHTF: sometimes you need some help butt be as self reliant as you can.

  7. My first outside job in the late 60’s, age 12, was working for a pair of cousins, second generation Japanese farmers in Washington. One served in the U.S. Army during WW2. They had to buy their land back after the war. It had been run down during the war years and they slaved to restore it to its former fertility. The thing I learned about picking strawberries for preserving, was to wait until later in the season and pick those berries even if they were smaller. Lowered moisture content made for smaller berries but it also meant sweeter berries without added sugar.

  8. Anon:

    Agree with you there. Most of the time we waited for the 2nd picking about 2-3 weeks after the first picking. Better flavor and higher sugar content.

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