Strawberry season is about to begin and with most u-pick strawberry farms in Ontario set to open within the next week or two, my mind is shifting focus and I'm seeing red. Sweet, scrumptious red.
Over the past two days, I have made two trips to my local farm. Each trip I have purchased a 3 litre basket full of strawberries. One basket of strawberries for the kids to nosh on as they please. The other for me to use in the creation of many strawberry-infused goodies.
I kicked it all off by making Oven-Dried Strawberries.
Creating fruit crisps is nothing new to me. It's a process that my Great Grandma taught me growing up. We used to spend many a summer in her kitchen preparing oven-dried fruit. Mostly banana and apple chips. However, something I had always wanted to try my hand at, but never had was Oven-Dried Strawberries. The idea of dehydrating strawberries in the oven seemed daunting at first. In reality, it is actually pretty easy. My biggest concern was that the strawberries would stick or become too mushy to flip over during the dehydration process. All issues that you can easily avoid by not slicing your strawberries too thin, and by lining your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Oven-Dried Strawberries have become an afterschool snack that the kids look forward to each day. Move over chips, there is a new healthier snack favourite in town!
If your child has an end-of-school year party coming up, this snack would make a great option! Even my daughter agrees, she loves them so much that she has volunteered me to handle the healthy snacks for her kindergarten classes end-of-year party. Thanks kid. I don't mind at all. Really.
Strawberries (1 litre will warrant the amount of dried strawberries pictured in the photo above)
Set your oven to 200F (preferably on convection if your oven has that feature).
While your oven is preheating, slice your strawberries, vertically into 1/3's.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place strawberries on sheet. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the strawberries. This will help bring out their natural flavour.
Place baking sheet in the oven and set timer for 1.5 hours. If you aren't cooking on convection, you will want to either leave your oven door propped open or check on the strawberries by opening the oven door every 15-30 minutes to allow for air circulation.
After 1.5 hours, remove from oven and carefully flip strawberries over. Return to oven and cook for another 1.5 hours. Keep your eye on the strawberries during the last 30 minutes to ensure they don't burn or over dry.
Cool and serve immediately, or store in air tight container or mason jar for up to 2 weeks.
Still have berries? Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries.