Strawberry season is short. Make the season last with Oven Dried Strawberries that you can use for months to come.
We love strawberries in our home. Even when they’re not in season, we buy them so that we can enjoy them just on their own or stirred into a big bowl of plain yogurt with a little drizzle of honey. That’s one of my favourite summertime breakfasts!
But, buying strawberries out of season can be rather expensive. Here in Toronto, during the off-season months, we usually pay about six dollars for a pint of strawberries that are usually from Mexico. But, during the month of June and early July, locally grown strawberries are available everywhere and in contrast, they usually cost about three dollars per pint.
Making strawberries last is not an easy task. Even if you buy them at the peak of freshness, they will start to soften and sometimes grow mold in two to three days. I’ve tried everything – washing them, not washing them, leaving the stems on, etc. Nothing seems to make them stay fresh after the third day.
There are other options for preserving strawberries, such as jams and preserves, which is probably the most utilized and the most obvious. You can find a few of those recipes right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen. First, there’s my Strawberry Rhubarb Lemon Jam, and then there’s my Strawberry Preserves. You can also can strawberries. Believe it or not, pickled strawberries are quite popular!
Now, there is another alternative, which is what this recipe is all about. Drying strawberries is super easy to do and can be done without the need for a food dehydrator. You can dry strawberries right in your oven. Sure, it does take some patience, but it’s not like you have to babysit them constantly. Let the oven do all of the work!
Dried strawberries are perfect for baking. Baked goods like cookies, cakes, and scones rarely do well with the addition of fresh fruit. Too much water content is released into the batter when the fruit begins to break down from the heat in your oven. In most cases, this “juice” will throw off the balance in the batter and you’ll probably end up with a flat, soggy mess.
To avoid this, use dried fruit or berries. When you work with dried fruit and berries, it’s important to remember that even though in their dried form they can be rather tough and chewy, once baked, they become soft and moist. It’s like magic! You can buy dried strawberries, of course, but unlike dried cranberries, apricots, or blueberries, dried strawberries can be really expensive.
If you make use of strawberry season when you can buy a pint for roughly three dollars, you can save your money and dry them yourself rather than buying them from a store. I love Wegman’s dried strawberries, but there’s lots of added sugar, unlike these Oven Dried Strawberries.
Once fully dried and cooled, pack the dried strawberries into a clean jar with a tight seal – much like the one you see in the photos, or simply in a mason jar. It might be a good idea to label the jar with an expiry date which is no longer than six months after you dried them. They probably won’t last that long though. Try them in cookies, scones, cakes, or even as a topping on salads!
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Oven Dried Strawberries
- 32 ounces fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Slice strawberries into quarters and lay cut side down onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave a little space in between; do not overlap.
- Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and slide the parchment off the baking sheet onto a counter.
- Line each baking sheet with new parchment paper.
- Carefully lift the partially dried strawberries off the used parchment and place them onto the new parchment paper. Be sure that the previously cut sides which were facing down are now facing up.
- Return to oven and bake for 1 more hour or until strawberries are completely dry.
- Allow the strawberries to cool and transfer to a clean mason jar with a lid. Dried strawberries will last at room temperature for up to 6 months. (Keep the jars in a dark pantry for longer shelf life and to retain the deep red colour. Dried fruit is sensitive to sunlight and can lose it's colour and fresh flavour.)
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