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Make It Yourself

I Tried Making Oven Dried Strawberries – Should You?



You see the recipes everywhere online – is it worth your time?

More than likely you’ve seen the posts – ‘drying your own strawberries is easy and it tastes like candy!’  But is it true?

The process seems easy enough-  set your oven on it’s lowest setting – 170 degrees, (or 200, if your oven doesn’t go below that), slice your strawberries, place them on on a baking pan, and wait. For hours. (Some recipes say three, some say four, but in all honesty, its something you want to check every hour anyway.) The result is a mix of berries that can range between chewy and crispy depending on how you cut them and how long they bake for.

(It’s important to note that dried or dehydrated strawberries are not the same as FREEZE DRIED strawberries, which is when the berries have no moisture at all in them, which is not something you can really do at home that easily – freeze drying is an expensive process which uses equipment that few of us can afford to put in our house. (This at-home freeze dryer costs over $2,000) But the truth is, the dehydrated or oven dried strawberries are delicious just as they are.

So what’s the verdict. Is it worth it?

The reality is, the process is easy. It requires very little work. For my test, I tried cutting the strawberries two different ways. Some recipes call for you to slice them into flat slices, others refer to cutting them into quarters. I thought I’d try both.

I set my oven to 200 degrees, and since I have a convection oven, I decided that yes, I wanted that warm air to move things along. I put the berries on a silicone nonstick baking mat – it stands to reason that fruit is going to lean towards sticking on a metal surface. I highly recommend the mat. Sticking was not an issue. Halfway through I did turn the flat berries over, and the quartered berries I simply shuffled around a bit.

In about three hours, they were done. They were delicious, although it’s important to note they will only be as delicious as the berries were before you dried them. If they weren’t super sweet to begin with, you might want to sprinkle a touch of sugar on them – but to me that defeated the purpose of making a more healthy ‘candy.’

Drying your own strawberries is easy, although it won’t produce a huge bounty unless you dry a lot of them.


Was it worth it?

Okay – here’s what I hadn’t expected – which was silly, because it’s SO OBVIOUS.

Sixteen ounces of sliced strawberries dried up until they are a shadow of their former selves is NOT GOING TO YIELD MUCH OF NATURE’S CANDY!

I mean, this should have been obvious to me!  But factor in that you’re drying these things out within an inch of their lives, and also – let’s be honest – you’re snaking and testing them as you’re baking them – so next thing you know you have a handful of berry slices. Are the delicious? Absolutely!

Are you saving money? Hard to say. A 16 ounce package of strawberries cost me $3.50 the weekend I bought them. By the time I was done I probably had four ounces of dried berries.

This sixteen ounce package of dehydrated strawberries is available online for 12.99 – that’s the weight of the strawberries AFTER drying. Some of them run for twice that much.

A package of freeze dried strawberries – the ones that are crunchy and dry – can go for much more. Just two ounces costs 8 dollars. That’s a lot.

Would I do it again?

At first, I thought, NO. But damned if I didn’t find myself always going back to those berries and snacking on them. They were delicious. Does it taste like candy? Okay, calm down, it’s not candy, (and that’s a good thing.)  It’s sweet and delicious. Not perfectly sweet, sometimes sour, sometimes slightly crispy, sometimes chewy… and I loved that. There was very little work involved, and the house smelled amazing. And lastly, the truth is I like doing this kind of thing. That’s why I’m here. That’s why WE are here. So why not? It’s fun. 

So the verdict – make them, but make a lot of them. Eat them alone, put them on ice cream, and impress your friends – or at the very least – impress yourself.



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This Dumpling Folding Tutorial Is The Most Visually Satisfying Thing You’ll See All Day



These are dim-sum of the most beautiful dumplings ever created!

I know you’re not supposed to play with your food but how can you resist when these dumpling designs look like the most epic play dough creations ever? The YouTube channel, So Yummy, released an instructional video detailing the steps on making 10 different, intricate dumpling designs…and let me just tell you, nothing I ever created in my play dough factory came close to looking like any of these. The video demonstrates techniques such as the pinch braid, the rose bud and the dahlia with each completed design looking like a museum masterpiece. You may have to watch the video more than once, however, because something about watching the sophisticated process accompanied by the upbeat music puts you in a bit of a trance. It’s almost like food meditation? Did I just invent that?

In any event, we all have a little extra time on our hands these days so why not try one (or all) of these folding techniques at home? The channel even provides a recipe for their dumpling dough:

Dumpling Dough

Prep Time 1 hour

Total Time 1 hour

Yield 30-35 dumpling wrappers


2 ¼ cups flour

¾ cup warm water (between 110-120°F)

Pinch of salt (optional)


1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and warm water until it becomes shaggy. With your hands, knead the shaggy dough inside the bowl until it comes together to form a ball. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

2. After resting, transfer the ball of dough onto a clean surface and knead firmly until it becomes smooth and elastic (about 2-4 minutes.) Cover with a damp cloth and rest again, for 30 minutes.

3. After the second rest, take your thumb and press firmly into the center of the dough ball. Using both hands, begin to squeeze and stretch the dough until you create a big donut shape with a large hole in the center.

4. Slice the “donut” into even pieces of desired size. Keep covered with a damp cloth, and when ready to use, roll pieces out individually into thin wrappers. (Optional: Trim wrappers using a large circle cookie cutter, for a clean edge.)

5. Fill the wrappers with desired filling, and fold to form designs of your liking! Cook, eat, and enjoy.

Seems simple enough! Zen out and check out the video below!

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Make It Yourself

Ikea Released Their Secret Recipe For Their Famous Swedish Meatballs So You Can Make Them At Home



*Some assembly required.

Imagine this film idea: an action hero begins his quest searching for the holy grail. He enters a multi-level labyrinth filled with twists and turns, aided only by some unintelligible hieroglyphics and his handy blue tote. The light beating down on him grows insufferable when suddenly he realizes he has lost all track of time. He has been wandering this maze for hours. Famished, he looks around for sustenance. He recognizes one of the symbols on the walls and follows its markings. He finds himself in an oasis and realizes that the journey itself was more gratifying than the holy grail could ever be. He orders himself the Swedish meatballs.

Clearly our action hero was a character we can all relate to, an Ikea shopper! Even more popular as the mega-retailer’s affordable prices and eye-catching designs, are the Swedish meatballs served in their cafeteria. The mouthwatering meatballs can be served up hot and fresh and eaten there or frozen for shoppers to take home to enjoy. Well with the coronavirus having most retailers shut down, Ikea decided to release their secret recipe for their fan-favorite food so we can all make the meatballs while stuck at home. The six step instructional guide details how to make not only the delectable meatballs but also the savory sauce they are drenched in. Six steps?! Quite possibly the easiest assembly guide Ikea has to offer.

Ikea Swedish Meatballs:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1x finely chopped onion
  • 1x crushed garlic clove
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1x egg
  • 5x tablespoons of whole milk
  • a generous dash of salt and pepper


  • Combine the beef and pork mince and mix together in a bowl using your fingers. Break up any lumps, before adding in the onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and mixing together.
  • Add in the milk, along with salt and pepper and mix in.
  • Shape into small, round balls and place on a clean plate. When all of the mix is used up, cover the plate and store in the fridge for two hours.
  • After two hours, heat some oil on medium heat in a frying pan, and once hot, chuck in the meatballs.
  • Cook until browned.
  • Once browned, pop the meatballs in an ovenproof dish and cook through for a further 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees, or 160 degrees if you have a fan oven.

Cream sauce:

  • A dash of oil
  • 40g of butter
  • 40g of plain flour
  • 150ml of vegetable stock
  • 150ml of beef stock
  • 150ml of thick double cream
  • 2x teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1x teaspoon of Dijon mustard

And here’s the method:

  • Melt the butter in a pan.
  • Once melted, whisk in 40g of plain flour and stir for two minutes.
  • Add in the 150ml of vegetable stock, along with the 150ml of beef stock.
  • Continue to stir, before adding in the thick double cream, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard.
  • Stir all the ingredients together, then bring to a simmer and allow it to simmer.
  • Once thickened, pour over your meatballs and enjoy!

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