We reached critical mass with home grown strawberries a few days before Christmas.
I know, I know, it is such a terrible terrible thing to grow so many strawberries that your freezer is over flowing, you’ve run out of jam jars and you can’t bear to eat another one. We have such a hard hard life….
But as much as I couldn’t face making any more jam, I also couldn’t bare wasting the sweet ready strawberries. I knew that our few weeks of too many strawberries would be followed my months of months of none at all. It would be sacrilege to waste them.
So I put on my daggy straw hat and went out to pick every strawberry I could find. Half an hour later I came back in with about a kilogram of berries, mostly small ones and some past their prime, but a bucket full none the less. I sat staring at the bucket for a while, wondering what on earth I should do with them. Then I have a brain wave!
If I could dry apples in the oven why not oven dried strawberries??
As I started cutting up the berries and putting them on the tray I began to doubt the brilliance of my idea. A few hours into the drying process I was regretting my idea entirely.
Berries are a lot juicer than apples, and a lot smaller. They took a long time to even look like they were drying and they were shrinking at an alarming rate… but after about 4 hours in a long slow oven and being left in the oven over night to cool and dry a little more…In the morning I peeled tiny, still a little gooey, slivers of divine sweetness off the baking paper.
A big bucket of strawberries was reduced to a tiny little container of chewy bits of berry goodness.
Ok so it’s probably not the most economical way to use strawberries, since you loose so much bulk along with the moisture, but even a tiny handful sprinkled into a muffin mix is amazing, that is if you don’t just eat the dried berries straight from the container!
How to Oven Dry Strawberries
Line oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Slice strawberries in half, or in thirds or quarters if they are big berries, and lie them cut side up on the tray.
Place your baking trays in a low oven. 100 degrees celcius or as low as your oven goes.
Depending on how large your strawberries are and how dry you want them they will take between 3-6 hours to dry.
Peel the dried strawberries off the baking paper and store in an air tight container.
Because ours were not all completely, 100%, dry I stored them in the fridge and they have kept well for more than 4 weeks.