How to Dehydrate & Freeze-Dry Strawberries for Backpacking Meals

By Inga Aksamit & Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD • Updated September 16, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.
Learn how to add a boost of flavor to your backpacking meals by using dehydrated or freeze-dry strawberries. Enjoy our Granola with Milk & Berries recipe using your DIY dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries. #howtodehydrate fruit #howtodehydratestrawberries #howtofreezedryfruit #backpackingmeals #diybackpackingrecipes #diybackpackingmeals #hikingfoodideas #backcountryfoodie

Pretreatment | Dehydration Process | Storage | Recipe

Strawberries can be dehydrated or freeze-dried for snacks or added to breakfast cereal, desserts, smoothies, trail mixes, or other DIY backpacking meals. Dried strawberries intensify sweet flavors and make a refreshing snack.

What types of strawberries can you dehydrate or freeze-dry?

Fresh and frozen strawberries can be dehydrated or freeze-dried. It’s best to dry strawberries at the peak of ripeness as unripe strawberries lack the sweetness, and overripe strawberries may be mushy.

Continue reading, and you’ll see that drying strawberries is quite simple and worth the minimal amount of work required.

Should strawberries be pre-treated?

It’s not required to pre-treat, but an acidic solution keeps strawberries from darkening (think about how apples or pears turn dark quickly) and improves safety.

The easiest and most accessible pre-treatment method is a quick soak in lemon juice.

  • To make a lemon juice solution, mix equal parts lemon juice and water.
  • Soak strawberries in the solution for 10 minutes.
  • Drain and dehydrate or freeze-dry. See drying instructions below.
920x60-2

How should strawberries be prepared?

Remove the caps and cut the strawberries into thin, uniform pieces. A mandoline or egg slicer can be very helpful for creating thin slices of 1/8 inch or less.

How do you dehydrate or freeze-dry strawberries?

Step One:

  • Spread the fresh or frozen strawberries onto dehydrator or freeze-dryer trays.
  • Using mesh sheet liners or parchment paper on dehydrator trays isn’t required but can make removing the strawberries from the trays easier.
  • Freeze-dryer trays do not require liners or parchment paper.
Learn how to add a boost of flavor to your backpacking meals by using dehydrated or freeze-dry strawberries. Enjoy our Granola with Milk & Berries recipe using your DIY dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries. #howtodehydrate fruit #howtodehydratestrawberries #howtofreezedryfruit #backpackingmeals #diybackpackingrecipes #diybackpackingmeals #hikingfoodideas #backcountryfoodie

Step Two:

  • Dehydrate at 125℉ (50℃).
  • If freeze-drying, start the freeze-dryer and allow it to run its cycle.

Step Three:

  • Strawberries are done when completely dry.
  • Dehydrated strawberries will be pliable with no visible moisture, which may take 8-48 hours or longer.
  • The freeze-drying process typically takes between 12-24 hours, depending on whether fresh or frozen strawberries were used.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries will be brittle when completely dry.
Learn how to add a boost of flavor to your backpacking meals by using dehydrated or freeze-dry strawberries. Enjoy our Granola with Milk & Berries recipe using your DIY dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries. #howtodehydrate fruit #howtodehydratestrawberries #howtofreezedryfruit #backpackingmeals #diybackpackingrecipes #diybackpackingmeals #hikingfoodideas #backcountryfoodie
Dehydrated Strawberries
Learn how to add a boost of flavor to your backpacking meals by using dehydrated or freeze-dry strawberries. Enjoy our Granola with Milk & Berries recipe using your DIY dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries. #howtodehydrate fruit #howtodehydratestrawberries #howtofreezedryfruit #backpackingmeals #diybackpackingrecipes #diybackpackingmeals #hikingfoodideas #backcountryfoodie
Freeze-Dried Strawberries
920x60-2

Step 4:

  • If using a dehydrator, allow the strawberries to cool for 30-60 minutes, then package in an air-tight container.
  • If using a freeze-dryer, store the strawberries in an airtight container immediately.
  • Strawberries will reabsorb moisture from the air, so do not leave them out for more than an hour before packaging.

What is conditioning, and is it necessary?

Conditioning is a process that equalizes the moisture before long-term storage to reduce the risk of mold. The moisture content of fruit should be about 20%, which is higher than vegetables or other foods. The moisture may not be evenly distributed, so conditioning is recommended.

  • Pack the dried and cooled strawberries loosely in plastic or glass containers.
  • Let the strawberries stand for 5-10 days.
  • Shake the container each day.
  • If condensation develops, the strawberries are not dry enough.
  • Return them to the dehydrator or freeze-dryer, continue drying and then repeat the conditioning process.

Long-Term Storage

To lengthen the shelf-life of the strawberries, consider vacuum sealing them in vacuum seal bags, mylar bags, or mason jars. You can purchase a mason jar vacuum sealer accessory online.

Also, consider adding an oxygen absorber. Oxygen absorbers will remove any extra oxygen from your container.

Goscien brand vacuum sealer with Foodsaver brand mason jar accessory
Goscien brand vacuum sealer with FoodSaver brand mason jar accessory.

Sign-Up & Save 20% Off Memberships

Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter & save 20% off Backcountry Foodie memberships.

    Your email is safe with us. We don’t like spam either.

    What is the yield?

    • Yields vary quite a bit.
    • One pound of fresh strawberries will be approximately 1 cup dehydrated with the usual range of ¾ – 1 ¼ cup.
    • The yield of freeze-dried strawberries will be similar to the same volume of fresh strawberries.

    How do you rehydrate dried strawberries?

    • Strawberries are often eaten in their dehydrated form.
    • If desired, add hot water and cover for 10-20 minutes to make a strawberry compote.
    • Cold water can be used to rehydrate strawberries, but the rehydration process may take up to an hour.
    • Freeze-dried strawberries will rehydrate much faster than dehydrated strawberries.

    How long will dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries last?

    Dehydrated strawberries can be stored for one year in an airtight container kept in a cool, dry, dark area.

    You can store freeze-dried strawberries for 10-15 years when vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber.

    Flip Fuel Backcountry Foodie 20% off discount

    How do I use dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries in backpacking meals?

    Add dried strawberries to cold or hot breakfast cereals.

    Powder freeze-dried strawberries using a coffee grinder and mix with:

    Create a hot strawberry compote using dehydrated or freeze-dried berries for topping dehydrated angel food cake.

    Here are a few of our favorite recipes using dried strawberries.

    Give this Backcountry Foodie dried strawberry recipe a try!

    Granola with Milk & Berries

    Backcountry Foodie Recipe
    When compared to the Mountain House® granola meal, our recipe provides an additional 200 calories and more than twice the protein per bag. Our recipe can also be prepared for a fraction of the cost. Win-win!
    Rate This Recipe
    5 from 7 votes
    View Comments / Leave A Review

    NUTRITION (per serving)

    cal/oz 135
    cal/gram 4.8
    Calories 740 kcal
    PROTEIN 32 g
    CARBS 78 g
    Fiber 9 g
    Added Sugar 0 g
    Fat 36 g
    Sodium 210 mg
    Home Prep Time 1 min
    Field Prep Time 2 mins
    WT/SERVING 5.5 oz (155 g)
    MEAL PREPDehydrator Not Required, Four Ingredients or Less, No-Cook
    Diet TYPESGluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, Nut-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
    Servings1 serving

    INGREDIENTS
     
     

    OPTIONAL

    INSTRUCTIONS

    HOME

    • Put all ingredients in a bag or container to be used in the backcountry.

    FIELD

    • Add 4 oz (120 mL) cold water or to the desired flavor.
    • Stir to mix well.
    • Let stand to allow the berries to rehydrate.
    • Stir to mix well and enjoy!

    NOTES

    VOLUME OF MEAL WHEN PREPARED

    • 1 1/3 cup per serving (dry)

     

    NUTRITION

    • Total sugar (per serving): 39 g, including no added sugar.
    • To reduce calories by 100, replace whole milk powder with non-fat milk powder.
    • We recommend reading food labels and choosing full-fat granola without dried fruit to maximize the calories per weight ratio.

    MY NOTES

    Did you make this recipe? We’d love to see it!Share photos from your kitchen or the backcountry below.
    920x260-1

    Ready to sample the strawberry recipes listed above?

    Backcountry Foodie is your go-to resource for more than 200 backpacking dietitian-created recipes and a one-of-a-kind automated meal planning tool. The meal planner even creates itemized shopping lists for you! Meal prep has never been easier.

    Backcountry Foodie Recipe Grid and Meal Planner

    Check out this video to see where all the magic happens.


    DISCLOSURE: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a modest commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, so we only include links for products that we use ourselves.


    Did you find this post helpful?

    Pin in and share it with your fellow hikers.

    Learn how to add a boost of flavor to your backpacking meals by using dehydrated or freeze-dry strawberries. Enjoy our Granola with Milk & Berries recipe using your DIY dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries. #howtodehydrate fruit #howtodehydratestrawberries #howtofreezedryfruit #backpackingmeals #diybackpackingrecipes #diybackpackingmeals #hikingfoodideas #backcountryfoodie

    Are you new to dehydrating food for backpacking meals?

    Consider checking out these posts:


    ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

    Inga Aksamit is a Northern California-based author and backpacker who writes about exploration, adventure, and eating well on the trail. She focuses on creating delicious gourmet meals with healthy, wholesome ingredients and no-fuss preparation in the backcountry. She has written several books, including “The Hungry Spork: A Long Distance Hiker’s Guide to Meal Planning” and “The Hungry Spork Trail Recipes.”

    Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD, is a registered dietitian and ultralight long-distance backpacker with over 20 years of nutrition and backpacking experience. She’s also the founder and owner of Backcountry Foodie, an online ultralight recipes and meal planning platform for backpackers. She also enjoys teaching hikers about backpacking nutrition via virtual masterclasses, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes. You can follow Aaron’s adventures in the kitchen and the backcountry via Instagram and Facebook.

    Resources:

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Star rating submitted with comment if selected




    Scroll to Top
    33 Shares 451 views