The berrier, the Better

As I mentioned in a previous article, I love summer berries.

I think the reason I love them so much is that I only eat them when they’re in season. I don’t really see the point to eat them at any other time: .strawberries in December taste like moistened strawberry-flavoured wood chips. So when the sun is shining and the fruit is ripening, I am in the kitchen doing everything I can to save and savour the full flavour of these foodstuffs. And one way of keeping it around is with the help of an inexpensive kitchen appliance.

We’ve become quite used to eating dried berries and fruit, notably cranberries and raisins, but there is more to it than that. You can dry all kinds of local seasonal fruit from apples, plums, pears and soft berries, such as strawberries. Dried strawberries are wonderful, but often expensive to buy. There is also the large amount of chemical preservatives used in the production and drying of the fruit, let alone the pesticides used in the farming of the berries themselves. By buying locally sourced unsprayed berries, you can be sure of what you are eating.

I recently bought a food dehydrator and found it to be a worthy summer kitchen appliance. With a couple flats of berries taking up space in my fridge, the dehydrator has been going almost non-stop in my kitchen. The technique is simple; wash and hull the berries, then cut into uniform slices, about ¼” thick. Place the sliced berries on the dehydrator’s racks, making sure that none of the berries are touching – to allow air to flow easily – and rotate the racks every couple hours. Eight to ten hours later, you have wonderful dried berries to add to granola, baked goods or just for snacking.