Neither of us has ever used a dehydrator. They’ve always seemed bulky to me, difficult to use, heavy on electricity and just generally confusing. But we borrowed a Kuto Dehydrator from Faithful to Nature and had so much fun. In all honesty, we tried to dehydrate the leftover vegetables from our Five-Step Gut Healing Vegetable Broth. The dehydrator ran for the maximum time but our vegetables were still plump and decidedly hydrated.
We eventually gave up to rethink our feature and washed the trays… only to discover we’d not removed a piece of board in the back! It’s not the first recipe that’s been a flop, but this is the first time that it was something truly silly that slipped us up!
As nice as a homemade stock is, this mishap gave us the space to have another peek at the seasonal produce at the markets. Silver linings and all that. One of our favourite Summer things is all of the berries. We all have memories of sticky fruit rolls in our school lunch boxes. Sticking to our sandwiches. Or memories of peeling off small bits and letting them dissolve in your mouth after a while. We used to get those little, dried fruit squares in a blue packet (I think there was a monkey on the packaging?). They were my favourite and were totally coated with sugar. This is an adult version.
One of my favourite new books, The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, has really made me rethink my flavour combinations. Not that strawberries and thyme are a particularly wild mix, but again, at least it’s a little more refined than refined sugar and fruit. Once we’d solved the board saga, the Kuto Dehydrator from Faithful to Nature was super easy to use. We made a short timelapse of the process which you can see on our Instagram feed. Once we’d blitzed our strawberries, with nothing else, in the Nutribullet we spread it evenly on the dehydrator trays which we covered with some baking paper.
We then sprinkled on a generous amount of thyme, slid the trays in and popped the door closed. The nice thing about this Kuto Dehydrator is that you can set the timer and step away. Unlike baking, you’re not in danger of overcooking your goods and don’t need to hover around until the beeper goes off.
We went to the beach. Came back. And had wonderfully dehydrated Strawberry & Thyme Fruit Roll-ups waiting for us when we returned.
If you do decide to buy a dehydrator, there are so many fun things you can do with it. From making your own healthy chips, fruit chips, fruit roll-ups, kale chips, and of course, stocks – you won’t run out of things to experiment with for a long time. Oh, and it isn’t actually heavy on electricity, unlike what I thought!
- 3 cups Strawberries
- 1 tsp Maple Syrup *optional
- 2 tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves picked
Prepare a few sheets of baking paper, enough to cover a dehydrator sheet.
Remove the stems from the strawberries and add them to a blender. If you'd like to sweeten your leathers, add your maple syrup now. However, if strawberries are in season it's definitely not necessary.
Blend until completely smooth.
Pour the mixture onto a prepared dehydrator sheet, set the temperature to 60 degrees Celcius for 4-5 hours. This process may take a little experimenting; use a wooden spoon to spread the mixture evenly on your prepared sheet - you don't want the mixture to be too thick or too thin.
Scatter your fresh thyme leaves over your strawberry mixture and let the machine do its magic.
At the end of the 4 hours, the mixture should be dry and no longer sticky. Remove from the dehydrator and set aside to cool slightly.
Use kitchen scissors to cut the leathers into strips and create your roll-ups.
* Fruit leathers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 months, but we'll doubt you'll be able to resist them for that long.