Time to freeze strawberries. Strawberry season lasts only two to four weeks, so be sure to get an extra basket or two so you can tuck some of these beauties aside for winter!
When you buy baskets of strawberries, time is ticking. You only have two or three days to eat them or do something with them – that’s when they’re stored in the fridge. If they’re on the counter at room temp, you have to process them right away – they’ll spoil quickly. If you need to buy yourself an extra day, separate the berries into shallow dishes so the berries are only one or two layers high and place them in the coolest room of your house.
You can also use the same method to freeze strawberries if you bought a small container but just aren’t able to finish it. Don’t let those precious berries go to waste – wash them, pat them dry and freeze them for another day.
As with freezing any produce, the key to good results with as few ice crystals and as little freezer burn as possible is to reduce the amount of moisture and air in the final package. By following the steps below, you’ll have beautiful frozen strawberries that will last a year.
How to Freeze Strawberries
How to Freeze Strawberries
- freezer bags
- Rinse strawberries under running water. Or, if you prefer, wash them gently in a bowl of cool water. Do not let them sit in the water too long.
- Place in colander to drip dry, while removing green caps and any blemishes from strawberries. Remove greens AFTER washing to prevent water from collecting inside the strawberries.
- Lay on tea towel to let air dry for 15 minutes or gently pat dry This helps prevent ice crystals.
- Place in single layer on large serving tray or baking sheet.
- Place tray in freezer for minimum 2 hours until berries are frozen.
- Transfer frozen berries to freezer bag pre-labeled with date and contents.
- Remove as much air from bag as possible to reduce risk of freezer burn. Close bag with just enough room for a straw to fit. Hold bag tight around the straw and suck out as much air as possible. Remove straw while sealing bag tight. Of course, if you have a vacuum sealer – use that, just be careful not to squish the berries.
Other Ways to Freeze Strawberries
My favourite way to freeze strawberries is as described above. I like that I can pour out as many or as few strawberries I need and that there’s no added sugar. The texture and colour is perfect for the ways we use our frozen strawberries – jam, smoothies, topping for oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes or ice cream, etc. That said, the above method is not the only way to freeze strawberries. You can also freeze them sliced or crushed with sugar, fruit juice or sugar water.
Here’s the general ratios and method for Dry Sugar Packs and Syrup Pack.
Dry Sugar Pack – Wash and hull strawberries. Stir every 4 cups of strawberries with 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Let sit for 15 minutes before placing in freezer bag.
Syrup Pack – Wash and hull strawberries. For every 4 cups of strawberries make a syrup of 1 cup boiling water and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Cool syrup then pour into container with strawberries. Cover strawberries and leave headspace to allow syrup to expand. Seal and freeze.
Note: Sugar is not needed to safely freeze strawberries. It does, however, help to keep color and texture brighter and firmer. If that is important to you, use the Dry Sugar or Syrup Pack method to freeze your strawberries.
Having beautiful, sweet local strawberries in the freezer makes me happy! I know that when we pull these beauties out in the middle of winter, we’ll have a brief taste of summer with the promise of another season just ahead.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.