Strawberries are probably one of the most popular fruits and even children cannot resist them. They make a great addition to any fruit salad and add that something extra to plain yogurt. Sadly these berries are only available during the warmer summer months. By dehydrating enough strawberries when they are in season however, you can enjoy this fruit for the entire year.
You Will Need:
* Cookie sheet
* Oven or dehydrator
* Sunny window if you are planning on drying your strawberries in the sun
Make sure you get ripe, firm strawberries. Wash them by spraying them in white vinegar and then rinsing them with clean water.
Cut away any brown or bad spots and remove the caps. Cut your strawberries into 1/2 inch slices. Spread the slices out evenly on either the dehydrator shelf or on the cookie sheet. Make sure that your slices do not overlap.
If you are drying your strawberry slices in a dehydrator place the shelf with the strawberries in the dehydrator and set it to 105 degrees for about 6 to 8 hours. Dehydrators are more energy efficient than stoves and is a good buy if you dehydrate lots of food in your household.
You can also dry your strawberries in the oven. By placing the cookie sheet on a baking plate and preheating your oven to 112 degrees, you will get perfectly dehydrated strawberry slices in about 4 to 5 hours. This method will work best if you only occasionally dehydrate food as stoves use a lot of electricity. If your oven can maintain constant low temperatures you can easily dehydrate food in the oven.
The most natural way of drying your strawberry slices is by letting them dry in the sun. Dehydrating your strawberries is as simple as placing them in a sunny window. Do note that you need a warm day with low humidity and temperatures of around 100 degrees to successfully dehydrate food using this method. They must be directly in the sun for a good part of the day before they will dry.
Check on your strawberries from time to time. Perfectly dehydrated strawberries are almost crisp but still pliable. If your strawberries turn out too crisp and hard you can always grind them down to a powder for other uses. You can also soak them in a little bit of water later on and use them to make syrups or sauces.
Store your dry strawberries in a moisture tight container or plastic bag. Be sure to label your container with the date as strawberries should be used within a year. Put the container in a cool, dry place to preserve your dehydrated strawberries.
* If you are going to use your oven often for dehydrating any kind of fruit, it is a good idea to line the oven racks with cheesecloth and place the fruit on top. This way you will not need to use several baking trays to do the job.
* When using your oven for dehydrating be sure to leave the door slightly open so that the moisture can escape. You can even position a fan at the oven door to keep your strawberries dry.
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Photo. Valeria Boltneva
Article Source: EzineArticles.com