What’s Inside: In this article, I give my thoughts on freeze dried vs. dehydrated strawberries, and which one is best for your prepper pantry. I take a look at texture, taste, and long term storage. I also provide sources for freeze dried strawberries and link to an article I wrote on dehydrating frozen strawberries.

Strawberries are a delicious and nutritious addition to any prepper pantry. Two popular methods of preserving strawberries are freeze drying and dehydration. In this blog post, we’ll dive into freeze dried vs. dehydrated strawberries and which option is best for your prepper pantry. We’ll cover different comparisons of freeze dried vs. dehydrated strawberries such as color, texture, rehydration, and shelf life. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of both dehydrated and freeze dried strawberries to help you decide which option is best for you.  

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Key Takeaways:

  • Freeze dried strawberries have a fresher taste and more closely resemble fresh or frozen strawberries
  • Dehydrated strawberries have a chewy texture, and taste similar to fruit leather
  • Freeze dried strawberries have a much longer shelf life compared to dehydrated strawberries and are better for long-term storage
  • Since freeze drying requires the use of an expensive freeze dryer, I recommend buying freeze dried products. My two favorite companies for freeze dried food are Augason Farms and Mother Earth Products.

The Source of My Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Strawberries 

Augason Farms Freeze Dried Strawberries come in both a pouch and in #10 cans.

Before I get into the comparison of freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries, I thought it important to share the source of the strawberries that I’m using in this article.  

I dehydrated the strawberries myself, using my Cosori Stainless Steel dehydrator (Amazon). You can read about the process in my article How to Dehydrate Frozen Strawberries. 

I do not have a freeze dryer, so I purchase all of my freeze dried products. In this case, I’m using these freeze dried strawberries from Augason Farms (Amazon).  

The Color of Freeze Dried Strawberries Vs. Dehydrated Strawberries

freeze dried vs. dehydrated strawberries - side by side, comparing the color.
Freeze dried strawberries on the left, and dehydrated strawberries on the right.

 When comparing freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries, one of the most noticeable differences is their color. Freeze dried strawberries retain their bright pink to red color, making them visually appealing and more similar to fresh strawberries. On the other hand, as you can see in the image above, dehydrated strawberries take on a dark reddish-black color, which makes them less visually appealing. 

One important note regarding the color is that the dehydrated strawberries above had been in storage for about a year, and the color darkened over time. Below is an image of what they looked like when they were first dehydrated.  

dehydrated strawberries are a good option if you want to dry them yourself, compared to freeze drying strawberries, which requires a freeze dryer.

You can see that even when freshly dehydrated, dehydrated strawberries are darker in color than freeze dried strawberries but were more red than dehydrated strawberries that have been in storage for a while.  

Texture Difference Between Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Strawberries 

 Another key difference between freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries is their texture. Freeze dried strawberries (Amazon) have a crispy texture, while dehydrated strawberries are chewy, reminiscent of fruit roll-ups. This contrast in texture can impact how you might use these preserved strawberries in recipes or as snacks. 

Rehydrating Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Strawberries  

It took about 5 minutes to rehydrate both the freeze dried (left) and dehydrated (right) strawberries.

Both freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries can be rehydrated by soaking them in water for about five minutes. After rehydration, freeze dried strawberries become soft and have a taste close to fresh strawberries.  

The texture of rehydrated freeze dried strawberries is similar to frozen strawberries that have been thawed, but they’re not as mushy. On the other hand, dehydrated strawberries still maintain their fruit leather taste and texture even after rehydration. They do soften up quite a bit but don’t quite achieve the same fresh fruit taste as their freeze dried counterparts. 

Making Strawberry Powder 

Sometimes I like to powder fruit or vegetables that I’ve dehydrated. Powders take up less storage space than their whole counterparts. Powders are also a great way to add dehydrated or freeze dried food to recipes, such as cakes, pancakes, muffins, and smoothies. You can also sprinkle the powder over ice cream. 

If you want to make strawberry powder, freeze dried strawberries (Amazon) work far better than dehydrated strawberries. Dehydrated strawberries are actually very difficult to powder. As I mentioned earlier, dehydrated strawberries have a texture that is similar to fruit leather. If you try to powder them, you’ll likely end up with at best, small bits, rather than a powder, and at worst, a gummy mess. In contrast, since freeze dried strawberries are nice and crunchy, they powder up beautifully. 

The Shelf Life of Freeze Dried Vs. Dehydrated Strawberries 

Freeze dried strawberries that are packaged for long term food storage have a 30-year shelf life.

 Freeze dried strawberries have a longer shelf life compared to dehydrated strawberries. If stored properly and unopened, freeze dried strawberries from companies like Augason Farms can last up to 30 years (Amazon). Once opened, their shelf life is similar to dehydrated strawberries, around one year. Note that both freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries are edible more than a year after opening, but the quality degrades over time.  

If you plan to rotate your strawberries on a regular basis, then dehydrated strawberries work fine. But as I shared earlier in this article, within a year, my dehydrated strawberries had turned a dark color. They still tasted good, but the change in color indicates that they had degraded some, and most likely lost some of the nutritional value compared to when they were first dehydrated.  

If your goal is long term food storage, then I definitely recommend freeze dried strawberries.  

Pro Tip: One thing I like about the Augason Farms freeze dried strawberries is that you can purchase them in either a #10 can, or in small pouches. Both the #10 can and the pouches have a 30-year shelf life, when unopened. The #10 can is generally more cost effective, and they are definitely fine for at least a year after opening. But if you only want to use strawberries occasionally, buying several pouches instead of #10 cans is a good way to go.  

Pro Tip: While I personally use and recommend Augason Farms, Mother Earth Products are another great option for buying freeze dried strawberries. I recommend checking with Augason Farms first, and then if they are out of stock, ordering from Mother Earth Products.  

Choosing the Right Option for You 

 When deciding between freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries, it’s essential to consider your specific needs, tastes, and budget. If you’re interested in a DIY approach, dehydration is the more accessible option, as it’s easy and inexpensive to dehydrate strawberries at home using a food dehydrator.  

Pro Tip: I use and recommend both the Nesco FD95 Dehydrator (Amazon) and the Cosori Premium Stainless Steel Dehydrator (Amazon). 

However, freeze drying requires specialized equipment, which can be costly and bulky. In this case, purchasing a commercial product like Augason Farms (Amazon)freeze dried strawberries is a more practical choice. 

For those building a prepper pantry with long-term storage in mind, freeze dried strawberries offer a longer shelf life, making them the better option. However, the bottom line is that incorporating both freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries into your pantry can provide variety and versatility in texture and taste.  

If you had to choose only one, due to their superior taste, appearance, and long-term storage potential, freeze dried strawberries are the recommended choice over dehydrated ones.

How to Use Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Strawberries 

Putting freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries into your prepper pantry is a good first step. And in fact, there’s nothing wrong with buying #10 can of freeze dried strawberries and sticking them on a shelf or in the dark corners of a closet and forgetting about them until you really need them. But if you want to rotate through your stockpile of strawberries, here are some ways to use both freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries.   

Snacking

Both freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries make great, healthy snack options. Their unique textures and flavors provide a tasty alternative to traditional chips or candy. 

Strawberry Jam

As mentioned on the Augason Farms package, you can use freeze dried strawberries to make a delicious homemade strawberry jam. Simply rehydrate the strawberries, blend them with sugar and pectin, and cook until thickened.  

Strawberry Smoothies

Another recipe from the Augason Farms package is a refreshing strawberry smoothie. Blend rehydrated freeze dried strawberries with yogurt, milk, or a dairy-free alternative, along with ice and your choice of sweetener for a nutritious and satisfying treat. I also like to add in some type of greens and a banana.

Baking

Both freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries can be used in a variety of baked goods, such as muffins, cookies, and cakes. Simply fold the dried strawberries into your batter or dough for a burst of fruity flavor. 

Toppings

Sprinkle freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries onto yogurt, oatmeal, or ice cream for added texture and taste. The crispy texture of freeze dried strawberries work particularly well as a topping for desserts and breakfast bowls. 

Cereal Mix-ins

Add freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries to your favorite cereal or granola for a fruity twist. This is an easy way to enhance both the taste and nutritional value of your breakfast. 

Trail Mix

Incorporate freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries into homemade trail mix for a touch of natural sweetness. Combine the strawberries with nuts, seeds, and other dried fruits for a balanced and energizing snack. 

Fruit Salads

Rehydrate freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries and mix them into a fruit salad for a vibrant and flavorful dish. This is a perfect option for picnics or potlucks when fresh strawberries may not be readily available. I personally recommend using mostly fresh or canned fruit for your salad, and using dehydrated or freeze dried strawberries for a pop of color.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

For a decadent treat, dip freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries into chocolate.  Allow them to set in the refrigerator before enjoying this delicious dessert. Since rehydrated strawberries turn out kind of mushy, I recommend that you do NOT rehydrate them before dipping them in chocolate.  

Salad Toppings

Add a burst of color and flavor to your salads by including freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries. They pair well with mixed greens, nuts, and a tangy vinaigrette. 

These ideas showcase the versatility of freeze dried and dehydrated strawberries, making them a valuable addition to your pantry. Experiment with these suggestions and discover new ways to enjoy this delightful fruit all year round. 

Recommended Resources 

Here are some of the resources that I recommend for adding freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries to your prepper pantry. 

  • Augason Farms (Amazon)is my #1 choice for freeze dried strawberries. I like that they come in a pouch or #10 can and find it helpful to store both options. However, if I’m choosing just one option, then I’d go for the #10 can every single time, since they stack well on a shelf or in a closet, and since they are more cost effective. 
  • Mother Earth Products is another great place to buy freeze dried strawberries. They come in mylar bags, or plastic canisters. Use the code SMP to get a 10% discount. 
  • Nesco FD 75 Dehydrator (Amazon). This is the first dehydrator I ever bought, and I still use it to this day. I like it so much that I have two of them! If you prefer to buy products made in the USA, this is the dehydrator to buy. 
  • Cosori Premium Stainless Steel Dehydrator (Amazon). I also have this dehydrator and have been very pleased with its performance. It definitely looks much sleeker and more attractive than the Nesco, so if you have the room, it’s a nice one to leave out on the counter. It’s made in China. 
  • Harvest Right Freeze Dryers are the best freeze dryers for home use. I personally do not have one, because of the cost, as well as not having the space to set it up. If you have the budget and room for it, and if you grow a lot of your own food, then freeze drying food yourself using a home freeze dryer is a good option. Otherwise, I recommend just buying freeze dried food.  

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