Dehydrating Strawberries

This Guide to Dehydrating Strawberries shows how to prepare and cut strawberries for drying, and includes ideas for using dried strawberries in backpacking breakfasts, desserts, and snacks. The Strawberry-Chocolate Tortilla recipe further down the page is one of my favorites. In part II, I cover how to dehydrate strawberry fruit leather with more recipes like Strawberry-Apple Pudding.

Dehydrating Strawberries: Slices on dehydrator tray.

The first step in dehydrating strawberries starts at the store. Take a close look at the strawberries to make sure there is no mold in the package. There’s always one, right? Avoid strawberries which appear to have any soft or discolored spots. Also, the redder the better; strawberries don’t continue ripening after they are picked. Since they decline rapidly, plan to dehydrate strawberries shortly after you buy them.

Wash strawberries before dehydrating them.

Strawberries are likely to have pesticides on them, unless you buy organic. Before cutting them, wash strawberries under cold water for several seconds using a colander. Pat dry with paper towels, or use a salad spinner to wash and dry strawberries.

Dehydrating Strawberries—Sliced

Cutting strawberries for dehydrating. Set aside tops and bottoms for making strawberry fruit leather.

The photo above shows how I cut strawberries for drying. I slice them ¼-inch thick (½ cm), but I set aside the narrower tapered ends and the tops. Not wanting to waste food, I trim the fruit away from the top leaves. I make strawberry fruit leather with the top and bottom pieces.

Top photo: Strawberry pieces for fruit leather. Bottom: Dehydrating Strawberry slices.

Photo above shows smaller strawberry pieces for making fruit leather (top), and dehydrating strawberries in ¼-inch thick (½ cm) slices.

How to Dehydrate Strawberries—Time & Temperature

Place strawberry slices directly on mesh dehydrator trays in a single layer and dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) until snappy dry. How long to dehydrate strawberries can vary depending on dehydrator model, size of load, external humidity, thickness of fruit, etc. The strawberries in the photo below were dry in eight hours.

Dehydrated Strawberries.

Photo above: Dried strawberries will be very thin and easy to snap in half.

Store dehydrated strawberries in airtight containers. Use oxygen absorbers or vacuum seal for long-term storage.

Test Yield: One Excalibur dehydrator tray loaded with 575 grams of sliced strawberries yielded 40 grams of dried strawberries with a volume of 1¼ cups.

Dehydrating Strawberries into Powder

You can grind or blend dried strawberries into powder to use as a topping for oatmeal and desserts, or to add strawberry flavor to drinking water. Forty grams of dried strawberries yields six tablespoons of strawberry powder. If using a blender, take your time to avoid overheating the blender.

I tested mixing dehydrated strawberry powder with powdered milk and sugar to make a strawberry shake, but the flavor of the milk powder overpowered the strawberry powder. There are better ways to enjoy delicious, nutritious dried strawberries on the trail.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges. High in B9, manganese, and fiber. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols and flavonoids. Source: Worlds Heathiest Foods.

Dried Strawberries in trail mix, and dried strawberries ground into strawberry powder.

Photos above show dried strawberries mixed with other dried fruits (left), and dried strawberry powder (right).

Ideas for Using Dehydrated Strawberries

Oatmeal: Add ¼-cup of dried strawberries to your oatmeal.  

Trail Mix: Strawberries, peanuts, and M&Ms.

Mixed-Fruit Trail Mix: Strawberries, bananas, apples, oranges.

Mixed-Fruit Cocktail: Same as above, but rehydrated with cold water. Rehydrate ½-cup of dried fruit with 1 cup of cold water. Wait at least an hour for best rehydration. You will end up with well-rehydrated fruit, plus a ½-cup of fruity-tasting juice. Double the quantities for a bigger treat.

Strawberry Tortillas

Enjoy these for breakfast, as a midday snack, or for the evening dessert. Make strawberry tortillas with just strawberries—with a little sugar sprinkled on them—or complete the ensemble with peanut butter or Nutella.

Rehydrating dried strawberries to make strawberry tortillas.

Photo above shows dried strawberries rehydrating in a GSI Dualist Cookset bowl with insulating sleeve(left), and then combined with peanut butter (right).

On the Trail:

Place ⅓-cup dried strawberries (15 grams) in a cup or bowl. Add ¼-cup of water and wait about ten minutes. You can rehydrate the strawberries with cold water, which is more convenient during a lunch break, but hot water is the way to go when making these for breakfast or after dinner. Just boil a little extra water when you make your coffee or tea.

Rehydrated strawberries and Nutella chocolate spread on tortilla.

Photo above shows strawberries rehydrated in hot water combined with Nutella chocolate spread.

I used two taco-sized tortillas. Spread peanut butter or Nutella on tortillas. Add half of rehydrated strawberries to each tortilla, fold in half, enjoy!

Tip: Baking paper (parchment paper) makes a clean work surface to prepare the tortillas. I use baking paper to fold up strawberry fruit leather—keeps it from sticking to itself—and then the paper gets used again for prep work after I eat the leather.

Trail Angel Cake

Trail Angel Cake made with dried stawberries, angle food cake, and chocolate sauce.

Trail Angel Cake is frequently mentioned by Backpacking Chef readers as one their favorite trail desserts. It’s a combination of dried strawberries, dried angel food cake, and chocolate sauce.  You’ll find the recipe on the Backpacking Desserts Page.

Next topic: How to make strawberry fruit leather.

Continue Reading…

In part II of Dehydrating Strawberries, I cover how to make strawberry fruit leather, how to pack it, and how to make delicious snacks and puddings with it.

Part II: Strawberry Fruit Leather

Table of Contents: Dehydrating Fruit

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