Does the thought of a fresh organic strawberry make your mouth water? You can use this tutorial to learn how to freeze dry strawberries in bulk.
Use them all year to make your favorite recipe with a fresh summer flavor. Dipped in chocolate or eaten plain, you can’t go wrong. They’re simply delicious!
Why I Love Freeze-Dried Strawberries
Our ancestors didn’t use freeze-dried foods. Initially, I didn’t see the benefit of adding freeze-drying to my wheelhouse of food preservation.
Fermenting for long-term food preservation, canning shelf-stable foods, dehydrating herbs, fruits, and vegetables, making freezer meals, and root cellaring were methods I found to be tried and true.
Yet, we were asked to use and honestly review the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer. So we first went to work learning the differences between freeze-dried vs. dehydrated foods.
We subsequently made freeze-dried corn, freeze-dried eggs, freeze-dried avocados, freeze-dried milk and even freeze-dried chicken pot pie, and were pleased to find the results were nutrient-dense, flavorful food with a shelf life of 25 years or more.
Then, I learned how to freeze-dry strawberries, and the first time I popped one in my mouth, it tasted like fresh strawberries picked at peak ripeness. I promptly concluded that freeze-drying strawberries is the best method to preserve these precious summertime jewels.
Can You Freeze Dry Frozen Strawberries
The Harvest Right Freeze Dryer first freezes raw or cooked foods to temperatures between -30°F and -50°F. When frozen, the unit then creates a vacuum causing the food to be gradually warmed. This causes the water to turn to a vapor, and as it evaporates, it is eliminated by the vacuum.
The removal of 99% of the moisture allows food to become shelf-stable for 20-25 years. Other methods using dry ice, coolers or oven methods are inferior to this freeze-drying process for long-term storage.
Preparing and pre-freezing foods before you freeze-dry them speeds up the freeze-drying process. If you slice the strawberries and pre-freeze them in single layers on a rack in your freezer, they will process quicker in the freeze dryer, although it’s not a necessary step.
Whole strawberries will take longer but are still delicious. Freeze-dried fruit has different levels of water content, so more or less time may be needed depending on the fruit.
Ways to Use Freeze-Dried Strawberries
You can enjoy this nutritious, healthy snack straight from the jar, but if any are left after your snacking, you can try using them in these ways.
- Baked Goods – Freeze-dried strawberries reconstitute well when added to a moist food mixture, such as a muffin or pancake mix, quick and easy cobbler, or rhubarb breakfast cake.
- Toppings – Adding these gems to the top of homemade instant breakfast mix, easy Instant Pot yogurt, or homemade ice cream takes these recipes to the next level.
- Flavored Water – Freeze-dried strawberries are a great flavor option for homemade natural water flavoring.
- Kombucha Flavoring – Home-brewed kombucha is delicious enough, but using freeze-dried strawberries to make flavored kombucha can add variety to your summertime beverage list.
- Smoothies – The freeze-drying process eliminates the need for added sugars or other sweeteners. When you freeze-dry a smoothie recipe and crumble it into a powder, adding water reconstitutes it back to a delicious smoothie. The nutrients and sweetness in the strawberries stay intact. Homesteading Hack: Add even more nutrition by making this DIY greens powder for a green smoothie recipe.
- Trail Mix – The lightweight feature of freeze-drying fruits makes them perfect in a trail mix for backpacking, hiking, camping, and hunting trips.
- Candy – A freeze-dried strawberry is decadent when dipped in melted chocolate. Homesteading Hack: Use the chocolate dipping tutorial in this recipe for chocolate coconut truffles. It even includes a sugar-free option!
- Freeze Dryer – The Harvest Right Freeze Dryer is our home model and comes in four sizes (we have two of the large size – pictured above). Homesteading Hack: I recommend going larger rather than smaller if that’s feasible for you.
- Cutting Board – A large cutting board is a helpful tool for slicing strawberries into uniform 1⁄4” slices.
- Trays – The Harvest Right Freeze Dryer comes with trays to dry strawberries and other foods.
- Parchment Paper – This is optional, but foods can stick to the trays, and parchment paper prevents that from happening, making clean-up easier.
- Kitchen Towels or Paper Towels – After the strawberries have been washed, drying them is important before the freeze-drying process. The less water on the strawberries, the faster the freeze-drying process.
- Mason Jars – The moisture in the air will rehydrate the strawberries over time. To prevent this from happening, place freeze-dried foods in glass jars with an airtight lid and use this jar sealer on the jars.
- Oxygen Absorbers – I highly recommend oxygen absorbers to increase the shelf life of all freeze-dried foods. They are inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk online. Homesteading Hack: Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers work well, but the preservation cost increases. Using glass jars allows us to see the strawberries, noting any changes that may occur if it loses the tight seal and moisture is absorbed.
- Labels and Marking Pen – It’s helpful to label the strawberries with the date you made them so you can know all the information you need when placing them on the shelf.
- Fresh or Frozen Strawberries – The versatility of using fresh or frozen strawberries makes this process convenient when strawberries are in or out of season. Homesteading Hack: Slicing frozen strawberries can be challenging; use caution if using whole frozen strawberries. Cut the top off the strawberry and place the flat side down before slicing for more stability.
How to Freeze Dry Strawberries at Home
- Wash your strawberries and dry them well.
- Slice the fruit thinly, but not too thin. I find 1⁄4” is a good size to aim for.
- If preferred, line trays with parchment paper.
- Lay your sliced fruit on the freeze-dryer sheets.
- Repeat until you have all the trays covered. Homesteading Hack: While you can layer your fruit, the strawberries will dry most evenly in a single layer.
- Place the trays into the freeze dryer and start your machine.
- Press “Not Frozen,” and the machine will do the rest. Don’t be afraid to add an hour or two of drying time if you feel they need it.
How to Tell If Freeze Dried Strawberries Are Done
Freeze dried strawberries should be completely dry and feel brittle to the touch. Check your berries by choosing the thickest piece and breaking it open to ensure it is freeze-dried thoroughly. If not, place it back in the freeze drier for a few more hours until completely dry.
How to Store Freeze Dried Strawberries
Once your strawberries are freeze-dried, remove them from the freeze-dryer right away and place them in a glass jar with an oxygen absorber and a tight lid. Label the jar with the date for future reference, and store at room temperature, away from light or moisture, until ready to use.
Homesteading Hack: Using a jar sealer to seal each jar. You can reseal the jars after each opening. This will prolong the shelf life of your strawberries.
How to Rehydrate Freeze Dried Strawberries
Freeze dried strawberries do not need to be rehydrated, and can be safely eaten as is. However, you can rehydrate them by using a general ratio of one part strawberries to two parts water. Simply soak the berries until they have reached your desired consistency.
Homesteading Hack: Warm or hot water will rehydrate strawberries faster than cold water.
In the Homestead Kitchen
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- Freeze-Dried Corn
- Freeze-Dried or Frozen Chicken Pot Pie
- Homemade Natural Water Flavoring
- Quick and Easy Cobbler Recipe
- Fermentation for Long-Term Preservation
- Preservation 101 Introduction to Canning
- Preservation 101 Dehydrating