Strawberries are in season during late spring and summer, with the peak fruits available in June for most of the U.S., so when fall and winter hit, it can be tough to nab these fresh beauties. But luckily, the sun doesn't have to always be shining for you to enjoy snacking on strawberries. If you buy your fruits when they're at their best and dry them, they'll last for up to six months stored in an air-tight container in your pantry. They may even be a little more nutritious than store-bought bags of dried strawberries, since you can ensure no sugar or preservatives are added. And you don't need a fancy dehydrator to make these sweet snacks -- just an oven will do.
Once you've dried your strawberries, you can of course snack on them as-is, which is an especially popular option for kids. They end up nice and crispy, making them a sweet version of chips. But these bites are also a tasty topping for oatmeal, cereal, yogurt bowls, smoothie bowls, frozen yogurt, or ice cream. You can also add them to a salad that usually contains the fresh fruits, for some extra crunch, like a strawberry chicken salad or strawberry arugula salad. Or, chop them up and incorporate them into your favorite trail mix for a boost of summer flavor.
How To Dry Strawberries In The Oven
Dehydrating strawberries is easier than it sounds -- all you need is an oven and a little patience. You'll first want to wash your fruits, remove the stems, and cut them into slices no thicker than ⅛ inch. Any thicker, and your strawberries will take longer to fully dry out. If it's easier than using a knife, you can deploy a mandoline slicer to make evenly sized pieces, which is crucial so that they all dry out at the same time. Then you'll want to space them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper, which they'll stick to) and place them in the oven at just 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure to flip your strawberries after two hours of baking time -- and after that, put them back in the oven for up to an hour longer. Once they're flipped, however, check on them intermittently and pull them out when they're dry. You'll know they're done when the fruits are crunchy and don't stick to your finger. Then either dig in right away or make sure they cool completely before storing them in an air-tight container -- but it may be hard to resist, as your kitchen will be full of sweet strawberry smells at this point.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.