I’m pretty sure most of us have been there. Scrolling through your daily Facebook feed, you inevitably see a food hack. Normally these are quick recipes for decadent cakes microwaved in a coffee mug or quick and scrumptious caramel popcorn.
But last week I saw a recipe hack for dried strawberries. I had actually seen this before, but as fate would have it, Chad had bought several pints of fresh strawberries days before. So at 10:30 PM on a random Tuesday night, I looked over the Facebook hack and got started.
The whole process took several hours.
Now, the recipe looked straightforward enough, but because it’s Facebook, I wanted a little backup insurance that I wasn’t about to totally muck this up. So I went with this blogger’s recipe for more guidance: http://frugalitygal.com/2014/02/oven-dried-strawberries.html
So all I needed was strawberries, a flat baking pan and parchment paper. The frugalitygal link did use lemon juice, but since we didn’t have any, I had to leave that out.
So again, I began this process at 10:30 pm on a random Tuesday. Now in both recipes I consulted, one element that I had to deal with was left out….my strawberries were frozen straight from the freezer. So I gave them a bath in warm water for about 30 minutes while I watched the latest episode of “Castle” (Sidenote: Methinks next season will be it’s last. Seriously.).
So 30 minutes into “Castle” I went back to my strawberries to discover that their texture had changed from solid strawberry bumpiness to a soggier, more tender version. So it was now time to cut them in half. Which I was reluctant to do because the last time I used a sharp knife to cut something I cut my finger and almost passed out (Sidenote #2: Before using any sort of sharp object where there is any chance that you could cut yourself, avoid doing it first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or coffee’d, leaving your blood sugar at a dangerous low 😉 ).
I discovered two things when cutting into the strawberries. 1: I was able to do this with a plain butter knife, avoiding bloodshed and, 2: cutting in half strawberries that have been thawing but are still a bit frozen is akin in texture to raw chicken boobs.
So after the strawberry chicken boobs were cut in two, I arranged them on a baking sheet that I had lined with parchment paper. Now put them in the oven that is set at 200 degrees. (Sidenote #3: I mentioned on Facebook that I was drying strawberries in the oven and someone jokingly told me not to burn the house down. But since the temperature of the oven was only 200 degrees, that would definitely be the lamest fire ever! Seriously. Just imagine:
Firefighter: “Ma’m, how did the fire start? Were you cooking Meth?” (Honestly this is a logical conclusion, given the state where we live. #methcapital)
Me: (Traumatized and slightly embarrassed that I managed to start a fire at only 200 degrees. I’m also blubbering uncontrollably) “No! I was drying (sniffs) straaaawww(blows nose as snot starts making a run for it)berries!!”
Undaunted by a possible house fire, but wanting to be safe, I checked them every hour. Honestly it wasn’t all that hot. Like I was able to actually reach into the oven and pick up a strawberry to test it for dryness during hour 3 (Sidenote #4: So it’s probably time to point out that there was a one hour time difference between the Facebook recipe and the one on frugalitygal. I used the time frame on the latter so it took 4 hours). Probably not the best idea but I’m still alive so whatever. 😛
After 4 hours and numerous episodes of “Castle” and “Bones,” I went back into the kitchen and opened the oven. I pulled out the pan of freshly dried berries and set them down. This was the end result of 4 hours of my life.
They tasted pretty good. Not as dried as I had anticipated, but I’d probably do this again. But next time I think I’ll bring down the food dehydrator that we have and do it proper. 😉
Bon Appetit Y’all!