How to Freeze Strawberries So They Never Go to Waste
It's easy to overbuy strawberries at the peak of their fleeting season. Somehow, buying 4 or 5 pints of fresh-picked strawberries at the farmers' market seems reasonable when they're plump and shiny and ruby red, but fresh strawberries lose their luster quickly and getting through all of them before they go south can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, you can freeze strawberries, so you can enjoy your bounty long after the season ends.
Freezing Fresh Strawberries
Freezing fresh strawberries is easy to do. It locks in their flavor (and nutrients) so you can enjoy them all year long. You will need:
- Paper towels
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- Plastic containers or zip-top freezer bags
- Wash: You don't have to do much more than place the strawberries in a colander, run cold water over them and let the water drain out of the bowl.
- Dry: Transfer the strawberries to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry.
- Hull: The hull of the strawberry (or the calyx) is the green stem on the top of the strawberry. To hull the strawberries, use a paring knife to cut out the green stem from the top. You can leave them whole or slice the strawberries in halves or quarters.
- Arrange: Transfer the hulled strawberries to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Make sure to spread them out in a single layer so the strawberries are not touching each other.
- Freeze: Place the baking sheet with the strawberries in the freezer; freeze until the berries are firm, about 30 minutes.
- Store: Place the frozen strawberries in an airtight plastic container or a zip-top freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store the berries in the freezer for up to one year.
If all goes well, the berries come out of the freezer looking as beautiful as they were when they went in—until they thaw. When they thaw, the berries don't appear to return to their fresh-picked glory, but they still deliver the flavor you expect. While the look and texture aren't the same, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy them.
Pictured recipe: Skillet Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
How to Use Frozen Strawberries
Frozen Treats: Straight out of the freezer, you can use them in refreshing summer treats. Frozen strawberries are excellent in smoothies, frozen cocktails and smoothie pops.
Fast Treats: If you want something fast, you can simmer frozen strawberries with a little bit of sugar and lemon or lime juice to make a sweet strawberry sauce for ice cream—or use it on toast like strawberry jam.