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.
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.
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.
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.
Photo above shows smaller strawberry pieces for making fruit leather (top), and dehydrating strawberries in ¼-inch thick (½ cm) slices.
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.
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.
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.
Photos above show dried strawberries mixed with other dried fruits (left), and dried strawberry powder (right).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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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