Whenever I visit the farmers’ market, I just can’t help but buy bushels of this fabulous fruit. I don’t know if it’s the sweet scent, the vibrant red color, or the idea of all the desserts I can make with it, but I always end up buying more than I can use.
But no regrets! First of all, I never run out of uses for them – from smoothies and shakes to cakes and pies and even ice cream and jam! Second, I love how its irresistible aroma fills up my home. Third, and most importantly, it all tastes so yummy!
The only thing that used to worry me was time. And that’s why I looked for ways to preserve my strawberries, aside from turning them into jam. While I do love my strawberry jam, I wanted to use my strawberries for other recipes as well.
As it turns out, the solution is simple: freeze them! When stored and frozen properly, strawberries can last for up to a year. Berry nice!
Want to learn how to do it? Well, keep scrolling to find out.
How to Freeze Strawberries
- Rinse. Give the strawberries a good rinse under cold running water. Place them on top of a clean and dry kitchen cloth or paper towels, and pat them dry.
- Take out the hulls. It will take some work, but it will help preserve them. Keeping the hulls on will cause the strawberries to go soggy while freezing. While you can do the simple route of pinching the green stem with your hand, it’s better to use a knife. That way, you take out the whole stem.
- Slice the berries. Frozen whole berries are a lot more difficult to slice, that’s why it’s better to do this step now. Consider how you’ll use them when slicing. For instance, for compotes and cobblers, you’ll want them halved or quartered. For pies, you may want to thinly slice them.
- Place the strawberry slices on a lined baking sheet. making sure they are laid out on a single layer and are not touching one another. This is important to ensure that the strawberries won’t stick to one another during freezing, and is helpful when you want to defrost only a portion of your strawberries later.
- Flash Freeze. Freeze the strawberries (on the baking sheet) for 1 to 4 hours.
- Place the strawberries in Ziploc bags. Once the berries have frozen, transfer them into freezer-safe bags. Squeeze all the air out as best as you can and seal them. You can also use a vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn and make doubly sure all extra air has been removed.
- Store. Place the berries at the back of the freezer. Don’t put them in the freezer door compartment because that area is prone to temperature fluctuation.
How Long Can You Freeze Strawberries?
When frozen, strawberries will keep well for up to one year. Amazing, right? In the fridge, strawberries only last 3 to 7 days. So if you’re looking to dramatically increase their shelf-life, freezing is an excellent option.
How to Defrost Strawberries
There are different ways to thaw strawberries, depending on how soon you need to use them.
Ready as soon as possible: Set your microwave to “Defrost” mode and microwave until thawed. Check them every minute to make sure you don’t overdo it.
If you have 15 minutes: Transfer them into a bowl and place the bowl in a bigger bowl full of cold water.
If you have an hour: Arrange them in a single layer on a plate. Leave the plate on the counter at room temperature for 60 minutes.
If you have an entire day: Transfer the resealable bag to the fridge and refrigerate overnight.
How to Use Frozen Strawberries
While freezing strawberries will increase their lifespan, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come out as fresh and plump once they are thawed. They’ll look a little darker and will have a softer consistency.
I recommend against using them for recipes where you need to highlight their appearance and texture. I’m talking chocolate-dipping, pie topping, and cake stuffing here.
But, no worries, because there are still a ton of ways you can use them. Here are just a few:
- Pie or cobbler filling. Take out the berries from the freezer and mix them with the sweeteners and seasonings the recipe calls for. No need to defrost them for such dishes.
- Cake and bread. Just fold them into the batter frozen. Not defrosting the berries will stop their juices from bleeding out into the cake.
- Smoothies and milkshakes. Transfer the berries from the freezer into the blender and blend! Again, no need to defrost.
- Cocktails. Thaw the berries at room temperature for a few hours until they are soft enough to crush.
- Puree. You can add strawberry puree to a bunch of recipes – ice cream, cake frosting, smoothie, yogurt – you name it! To prepare, defrost the berries in a strainer placed over a bowl for several hours at room temperature. The berries will drip liquid as they thaw. Boil the liquid until it becomes syrupy. Add the syrup to the strawberries and puree.
- Strawberry sauce. Simmer frozen strawberries and add sugar and vanilla.
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to freeze only the freshest strawberries to get the best results. Fresh strawberries are firm, bright red, and glossy. They should not have streaks of white or green.
- Don’t pick deep red strawberries because those are most likely overripe. Once frozen and thawed, they become more mushy and unpleasant.
- If you plan to store the strawberries in the fridge, don’t wash them until right before you will use them. Pre-washing them will introduce moisture to the fruit, which will make them more prone to mold.
- Label the containers with the current date so you’ll know how long the strawberries are good for.
- Using your frozen berries to make cake or bread? Coat the berries in a bit of flour before tossing them into the batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.
- Don’t throw the hulls away! They make a brilliant addition to compost.