Strawberries are one of my favorite fruit and are a perfect candidate for freeze drying! I can’t wait to show you the best way for how to make freeze dried strawberries at home, it’s just so easy! You can use your home freeze dryer to make strawberry chips in just a few easy steps.
How to Freeze Dry Strawberries
Strawberries turn out excellent in the freeze dryer! They are light and airy and have a stronger strawberry flavor that tastes sweet like candy! This will be one of the foods that’s hard to keep stocked on your pantry shelves. Especially when you see all the fun ways you can use your freeze dried strawberries once they’re ready! They’re perfect for a healthy snack!
Or, if you can keep them away from your loved ones snacking on them, they have an incredibly long shelf life with stored properly in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. This removes oxygen and light, two of the main sources of food degradation. Just store in a cool location and your strawberries will last 25 years!
Step 1: Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
You can start with either fresh strawberries or frozen strawberries. Look at farmer’s markets, local farm co-op sales, or watch for sales at your grocery store to buy your strawberries at a great price!
You can also simply purchase already frozen strawberry slices or whole strawberries. This is a great way to save a step prepping your food! It will probably be easier to work with the sliced strawberries later, so if the prices are the same – choose sliced!
Use the following guide to help you buy the right amount of strawberries for your freeze dryer and for prepping onto your trays later.
- Small Freeze Dryer – 1-1.5 lbs per tray = Purchase 3-5 lbs
- Medium Freeze Dryer – 1.5-2 lbs per tray = Purchase 6-8 lbs
- Large Freeze Dryer – 2-2.5 lbs per tray = Purchase 10-12 lbs
Step 2: Prepping Strawberries for the Freeze Dryer
Fresh Strawberries: Aim for strawberries at their peak season! They’ll not only have a fantastic flavor, that they’ll preserve, but they’ll really give you the best results and you can find them on sale for usually amazing prices!
Rinse the strawberries to remove any dirt, pesticide, or other contaminates that might be on the skin of the fruit. Pat the fruit dry with a towel or paper towel. You can also simply lay them out on a paper towel while you continue to rinse the rest of your strawberries and let them air dry while you work.
Remove the stem, then use a sharp knife to slice either in half or in 1/4″ thick slices. Or, use a strawberry or egg slicer to make the prep so much faster! Slices will be easier to work with for most uses, but half strawberries are a time saver and can work for a lot of applications such as smoothies, pies, and baked goods.
After loading your trays, you can stick your prepared trays into the freezer over night (12+ hours) to save you time during the freeze drying process. Or, use them fresh and let the machine take care of this step.
Frozen Strawberries: Before opening up the frozen strawberries package, break them apart a bit from their frozen state with a few good whacks on the counter. Brush off any ice crystals, then load onto the tray.
What has worked for me is purchasing (2) two 3lb bags of frozen strawberries. The size of the sliced berries compared to the trays each bag is a really good quantity to fill 2 medium trays.
Load the Trays: Fill up the trays with up prepared strawberries, following the weight guide above. You don’t have to lay out the strawberries completely flat or separate. It’s okay for them to overlap, they don’t need to be in a single layer, they won’t stick together after the process and will still dry great!
You can use parchment paper to line your trays, if you want clean-up to be even easier! They come off the trays very easily, though, so you shouldn’t need to use anything special below the strawberries.
Step 3: Using Your Freeze Dryer
Prepare your freeze dryer 30 minutes before your trays are ready.
Using your Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, touch the start screen. You’ll be prompted through options including if your food is pre-frozen or not frozen and if your food is liquid or not liquid. The screens will prompt you through the few steps to start the machine. Don’t forget – close your drain valve!
Your freeze dryer will lower in temperature to 32˚F and then prompt you to add your trays. You’ll add them and select to continue. You’ll want to check on your freeze dryer occasionally, but you’ll have about 20 hours until the process is complete. It will go through a freezing, vacuum freezing, drying, and then a final dry step.
When the process shows as complete, you can then check the trays. Thoroughly inspect the strawberries to make sure they are completely dry. Look for your thickest pieces and break them open to see if there is any moisture in the thickest parts of your fruit.
If there’s any remaining moisture, you can add more dry time before ending the cycle. Usually 2-4 hours is a good starting point for adding additional time and then checking again to see how the process has gone.
When your fruit is completely dry, you’ll then remove the trays and can package them for short or long-term use! Use airtight containers like these (they’re my favorite!!) or mason jars for use within a couple months.
** Scroll down for a printable guide to add to your freeze dry directions book!
Common Questions about Freeze Drying Strawberries
Q: Can you Freeze Dry Strawberries in an oven?
An oven does not create a vacuum setting and is more similar to dehydrating strawberries. See our post on how freeze drying works to see the differences between freeze drying and dehydrating. Dehydrated strawberries are similar, but lose some of their nutrients, flavor, and color when using a food dehydrator while freeze drying keeps all that intact!
Q: Does Freeze Drying Strawberries take a long time?
Fruit does take longer than some other foods, but it’s not the slowest fruit out there. Grapes and pineapple, for example, take a lot longer because they have such a high concentration of liquid! It will take about 20 hours to freeze dry your strawberries, once they’re already frozen. You can freeze dry room temperature strawberries, but you’ll add some time for freezing onto your total time.
Q: Is it better to freeze dry from fresh fruit?
That depends. If you’ve picked your strawberries fresh from the vine or purchased from a local farmer or farmer’s market, you’ll probably find amazing strawberries that are perfectly ripe, juicy, and at their peek flavor! Otherwise, the grocery store may be hit or miss on how fresh your strawberries are. Especially when purchasing out of season.
Frozen strawberries do a pretty good job. Since they are picked and frozen and preserved while at their ripest, they’re a great option. You won’t notice a huge difference between fresh and frozen overall once freeze dried.
Q: What is the texture of a Freeze Dried strawberries like?
You might be surprised, if you haven’t tried freeze dry strawberries before, they have a crunchy texture and have a light and airy feel to them. They literally melt in your mouth. You’ll also find they have a more concentrated, stronger flavor without their water content!
Freeze Drying at Home with Harvest Right
Freeze drying is growing in popularity and that’s thanks to Harvest Right! They are the only company to offer a freeze drying machine for home use. The only other products on the market are more than 5 times the prices and designed for commercial and pharmaceutical uses.
While a freeze dryer isn’t cheap, I have found that I will easily recoup my costs over purchasing commercially freeze dried foods. And the freeze-drying process is so much easier than you might think! It’s really just a few steps! You can read more about why I love my freeze dryer here!
If you’re thinking of purchasing a freeze dryer or adding extra accessories, consider shopping with my affiliate link! This helps support this site so I can continue to share the best freeze dried meals, popular freeze dry recipes, and resources!
Tips for Reconstituting Freeze Dried Strawberries
There are a few ways you can rehydrate dried strawberries.
Bowl of Water: You can place them into a bowl of water and let them sit for about 20 minutes. You may find the berries are a bit soft and “mushy” as strawberries can take in a lot of moisture. Watch them carefully so they don’t over saturate with liquid.
Spritz with Water: Use a small spray bottle with fresh water and spritz a good coating of water onto your strawberries. You’ll have better results if you spray one side, flip and then spray the back side. You may still find the centers aren’t completely rehydrated, but this will do a pretty good job and doesn’t make the strawberries too soft.
Use in Wet Recipes: The easiest way to use your freeze dried strawberries is add them right to your recipes along with your wet ingredients. Add a small amount of extra liquid to compensate for the moisture your strawberries will extract from your batter.
If you don’t want to crush your berries, use a soft baking spatula to stir instead of a hand beater. You can mix ingredients first, than softly stir in to combine at the end, when necessary.
7 Ways to Use Freeze Dried Strawberries
1. Eat Them Plain!
Freeze dried fruit is amazing! It’s a more concentrated form of a fresh strawberry. With the water removed, you’re left with a stronger flavor in each bite. They’ll soften on your tongue and will taste like a treat! Make sure you drink more water as you won’t get it from the strawberries themselves.
2. Rehydrate and Enjoy
Use our rehydrating tips above to rehydrate your freeze dried strawberries first, and then serve! Try to reconstitute just the amount of strawberries you will use in one sitting, since your strawberries have already gone through a long process (freezing, removing liquid, storage, rehydrating, etc).
3. Rehydrate in Recipes
Rehydrating your strawberries couldn’t be easier than simply tossing your freeze dried strawberries into your favorite recipes and letting the liquids in the recipe do the work! Add just a little extra liquid (such as water, milk, cream, or egg yolk, juice, etc) that you’re already adding to your recipe to bring life back to your strawberries.
Some of my favorite recipes to use my freeze dry strawberries in:
- Strawberry Muffins
- Oatmeal with Strawberries and a small scoop of brown sugar
- Strawberry Donuts
- Jello Pretzel Salad
4. Add to a Mix!
Make your own trail mix or snack mix add toss in dried strawberry dices. You’ll have an instant healthy alternative that has only the ingredients you add!
If you have freeze dried strawberries that were prepared as half strawberries, just use a pastry scraper like this to easily dice up your strawberries while dry. There may be some small crumbles that break off, or powder, but just toss that right in with the rest of the mix!
You can add your freeze-dried strawberries in with cereal (cheerios, chex, frosted flakes, etc), granola, other berries, nuts, seeds, marshmallows, oats, chocolate chips, m&ms, or whatever else you’d like to add.
They’re also great tossed in ice cream or in a bowl of cereal!
5. Toss them in a drink!
You will take your favorite drinks up a notch by adding your freeze dried strawberries into your glass! Just toss a couple in to add a splash of flavor! We love these in lemonade, sprite, even in orange juice! You can add them to your water as well to add a fresh flavor and keep things interesting.
6. Make a Strawberry Powder
To make a strawberry powder from your newly freeze dried strawberries, simply add them to a blender or food processor. Use the “pulse” setting to process them down into a powder.
You don’t want your blender to run consistently, as it doesn’t take very much and you don’t want the powder to start to gum up in the heat of the blades. Just pulse a few times, and continue as needed until you have a fine powder!
You can then add your strawberry powder to your baked goods (Strawberry donuts, muffins, or pancakes, anyone?) or mix it in with smoothies, homemade granola bars, etc. The options are endless!
Try our recipe for this Strawberry Frosted donuts! The powder will work wonderfully to flavor a glaze like this!
7. Dip Them
Dip your freeze dried strawberries to make a special treat! You can dip in chocolate, white chocolate, yogurt, caramel, frosting, whip cream, or whatever else you can think of!
Freeze Dried Strawberries at Home
Fresh or Frozen Strawberries:
- Small Freeze Dryer - 3-5 lbs
- Medium Freeze Dryer - 6-8 lbs
- Large Freeze Dryer - 10-12 lbs
*Read through all the steps before starting.
- Start your freeze dryer if you plan to pre-freeze your berries.
- Rinse and pat or place on a towel to dry.
- Slice in half or in slices about 1/4" thick.
- Load onto your freeze dry trays.
- Freeze overnight (12+ hours) or simply place in your freeze dryer.
Store-bought Frozen Strawberries:
- Start your freeze dryer. Select pre-frozen and allow your machine to cool to 32*F.
- Before opening your strawberries, loosen up frozen berries by pounding the bag on your counter a couple of times.
- Open the bag of frozen strawberries and brush off any big ice crystals. If you purchased whole berries, slice in half for better results or larger than the edge of your trays.
- Load berries onto your freeze dry trays and return to the freezer until your machine is ready.
Rehydrating Freeze Dried Strawberries:
There are a few ways you can rehydrate dried strawberries.
Bowl of Water: Place in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don't over saturate with liquid. They may be a bit soft with this method.
Spritz with Water: Use a small spray bottle of water and spritz a few sprays of water onto your strawberries. Flip and repeat on the opposite side. Large strawberries may still be somewhat dry in the centers.
Use in Wet Recipes: The easiest way to use your freeze dried strawberries is add them right to your recipes along with your wet ingredients. Add a small amount of extra liquid to compensate for the moisture your strawberries will extract from your batter. To avoid crushing berries, use a soft baking spatula to stir instead of beaters.
See our post for 7 ways to use your Freeze Dried Strawberries, including fun recipes! Ideas for dipping, using in recipes, rehydrating, strawberry powder and more!
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