• When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown berries for the best quality and nutritional value. Determine when fresh berries are available where you live with this seasonal food guide.

If this is your first time drying or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Drying Information before beginning.  

1. Selection & Ingredients

  • Select firm, ripe berries. Do not use berries that show signs of decay or mold.
  • Pre-treatment Solution--any of the following can be used to prevent fruits from darkening:
    • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)- Mix 1 teaspoon powdered or 3,000 mg tablets (six 500 mg tablets), crushed, in 2 cups cold water 
    • Citric acid-1 teaspoon (5 grams) per 1 quart of cold water
    • Bottled lemon juice-1 cup per 1 cup cold water
    • Ascorbic Acid Mixture--follow manufacturer's instructions

2. Equipment

  • Use clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation.
    • Many types of food dehydrators can be used and are explained in detail in Food Dehydrators.
  • Storage containers
    • Clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags
    • Vacuum packaging is also a good storage option
  • Large bowl (for soaking fruit in pre-treatment solution)
  • Large pot for boiling water (if drying whole berries)
  • Ice 
  • Bowl for ice water
  • Colander, strainer or slotted spoon (for draining fruit)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Timer or clock

3. Prepare Ingredients

  • Thoroughly wash berries.
  • Leave berries whole or cut them in half.
  • For berries with firm skins, dip in boiling water 30 seconds and then into ice water to crack skins.
    • Drain well.
  • For berries with soft skins (strawberries), soak in ascorbic acid or other anti-darkening /antimicrobial solution for 3-5 minutes.
    • Remove berries from solution and drain well.

4. Dry

  • Place berries in a single layer on drying trays. 
  • Dry at 140 degrees F (60°C) in an oven or dehydrator.
  • If necessary, turn large pieces over every 3 to 4 hours during the drying period.
    • Fruits can scorch easily toward the end of drying, so monitor more closely as drying nears completion.
    • Dry until hard and berries rattle when shaken on trays.
  • Total Drying Time: 24-36 hours in a dehydrator (may take up to twice as long in a conventional oven) 

5. Store

  • Store small amounts of conditioned dried berries in moisture-vapor-proof containers or bags.
  • Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
    • Properly stored, dried fruits keep well for six to 12 months.
    • Discard foods that have off odors or show signs of mold.