How can you keep your fresh fruit through the winter months? There’s a few different ways, but today I’m going to talk to you about how easy dehydrating strawberries and bananas is.
When you find an over supply of strawberries and bananas, dehydrated them! They are sweet snacks for any age. You can grow your own strawberries, find them at local farmers markets, or visit family who have an abundance. Bananas are a bit tricker since no one can grow them here in Minnesota. If you do…please stop…they aren’t meant to grow here.
We found organic strawberries for 2/$5 at our local Mikes Discount foods, along with an entire case of bananas for $10. Our fruit bushes/tree have not started producing quite yet. So we do our best to find organic or local fruits for a good price to store through the winter. Summer I find is the best time to do this since this is when fruits should be in season.
Depending on how much you’re wanting to dehydrate will determine what kind of dehydrator you want to get. I started off with a simple plastic circle one that I found at a thrift store. Just to test how much will I actually use this. Now I used a big fancy 10 sheet monster because I use it a lot! Not just fruits, but veggies and jerky too.
Honestly, the strawberries took me 25 minutes to prep and get in the dehydrator. 25 MINUTES, that’s it. I used a nifty little tool my mother got me to make the slicing go quicker. The handy dandy…strawberry slicer… A simple kitchen knife to slice off the heads, then used to slicer and popped them on the tray. KEEP THE HEADS FOR YOUR CHICKENS.
For the bananas, I borrowed my brother in laws fancy cutter (mandolin) because I had done slicing before without it….I wanted to change things up. It’s really not to terrible to slice yourself, especially since bananas are so soft. But moms with busy lives, you just need to get it done within a ‘nap’ time. I sliced right over the sheet, than laid flat after a few bananas.
TIP: Get a cut proof glove sooo much easier to handle the banana and you can get close to the blade without chopping your finger.
For both strawberries and bananas, I ran for 10 hours on 165 degrees. You can also do this in your oven. I would suggest during the day when you’re home, if you’re going the route. Thats another benefit of having the monster dehydrator, it sets a timer and shut off automatically when time is up. There’s adjustable times. Warm setting.
How to store after dehydration
I put all my dehydrated foods into glass jars with air tight lids. Store in cool dark place for long term use. Or snack on them at the church.
Why wouldn’t you just freeze?
I do. We have tons of frozen cherries from my mother in laws tree, bags upon bags of frozen bananas (I just buy crates full). There’s planning, not everything will fit in the freezer. The frozen fruits are for baking, there is some for smoothies. If you’re wanting fruit for snacks, just fruit. The cheapest and safest(many additives for store bought fruit) way is dehydration.
Both strawberries and banana (minus cook time) took me a total of 53 minutes. To slicing, placing on sheets, into the dehydrator. Now we have one jar of strawberries and to of bananas. Get started, it’s s rewarding to put the time and effort into your food.