I love my dehydrator.
I admit, there was a bit of a learning curve using it. Not so much and dehydrating – that’s simple. Most things you either slice and dehydrate, or a few things you have to blanch briefly first then place on the dehydrator —Easy!
No, the learning curve was more in how to use the dehydrated product once it was done…but that’s a post for another day.
Today, I’m talking about dehydrating strawberries. I got a screaming deal at Aldis on strawberries this week. $.99 per quart! That’s almost a three dollar a quart savings over the price of strawberries in mid winter. I picked up 10 quarts, and I’ll probably go back for more before the end of the week.
We ate some fresh, I made a strawberry rhubarb pie, did up some strawberry jam and strawberry rhubarb jam, and then it was time to do something with the rest. Quite frankly, they take up a lot of room in the fridge, and if you don’t use them up fast enough they have a tendency to spoil. But with everything going on, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time. So it’s my trusty Excalibur dehydrator to the rescue!
The process for dehydrating strawberries is simple. Remove the tops, rinse, then slice and put in your dehydrator. I like to do them at a very low temperature (100F-105F) to preserve as many of the nutrients and as much of the color as possible.
While this isn’t difficult, slicing up six or so quarts of strawberries takes some time. This is where I have a great tip for you! Did you know you can slice strawberries with one of those little egg slicer gizmos your mom used to have in the drawer?
Now I’ve had an egg slicer for years with the little wires going across, but they always seem to break eventually. About a year ago I picked up an egg slicer that has actual blades instead of wires (it’s similar to this egg slicer gizmo on Amazon). It’s a little bit bigger and more bulky in the drawer, but it works a whiz for slicing strawberries. And mushrooms. And kiwis. Plus I use it for eggs – I really like using it when I make egg salad.
I’m a lazy dehydrator-I’ll just leave it running all day and check it in the evening. If they aren’t dried enough by then I’ll just keep it going overnight. If you are trying to completely dry something for storing, you can’t really over do it-once it’s dry if you keep going it just stays dry. You can’t “overcook” it.
Today’s slices were just put in the dehydrator, but I figured folks would want to see a finished product:
This is what’s left of strawberry slices I dehydrated almost two years ago. I vacuum sealed them in that quart jar and then stored them in a cupboard in my unfinished basement. (Light, heat and moisture are the enemies of dehydrated food!) Once I open the jar to start using it, I stick on a mayonnaise jar lid (you know those fit regular mouth canning jars, right?) and it goes onto my dehydrated food shelf in the pantry.
Yes. I have a few dehydrated things.
How do I use the strawberries? They taste great as a nibble plain. You can toss them into granola or trail mix dehydrated. You can rehydrate them in water and use them in cooked items or over yogurt. They won’t be as plump as fresh when you rehydrate them, and the texture is a bit chewier, but they are still very tasty.