Easy Oven Dried Strawberries
June, 2015 · By Coryanne Ettiene
When you open our pantry door it is a beacon of dried fruit in jars. Somehow, and frankly I’m not too sure how, my children have decided that it is their snack of choice, especially (and with good cause) dried strawberries. And with nine million snack times during summer vacation, you can bet your last dollar that I’m going the easy route when it comes to drying strawberries.
As a child strawberries where a luxury saved for special occasions, they were like gold and rarely indulged upon like they are today. I used to sneak them one at time right out of the fridge, never washing, just popping the whole thing in my mouth before anyone noticed. But now when I walk into the grocery store, I practically trip over the mountain of fresh strawberries the moment I reach the fresh produce aisle and with those big beautiful sweet berries stuffed inside containers priced to sell, it’s hard to resist the temptation to hoard them like there will never be another strawberry season again.
Sticky, tacky, sweet and oh so irresistible, dried strawberries are not just for snacking, oh they are so much more than just a passing nibble. What I adore about them is they they play well with others. Think of the granola, the cookies, the ice cream toppings, the yogurt blends, salads and less I forget, the cocktails they could shimmy around in. We typically use 3-4 containers of strawberries when we make a batch because once you start looking around, you find places for your dried strawberries that you did not see coming.
The trick with oven dried strawberries is to slice them just right, about 2mm for the perfect balance between tacky and crisp, and skip the airing rack — they will only stick causing you to shout profanities when you try to remove what appear to be perfectly dried strawberries. Rather, lay each sliced berry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with salt and slowly cook at 170F for 2 hours, taking the time to turn them half way through. At the 2 hour mark, remove those that are done, and then carefully watch those stubborn stragglers until they are nice and tacky. Once they cool, seal them in an air tight jar for up to 7 days.