Easy tutorial showing how to freeze strawberries. Includes natural produce wash recipes, how long you can freeze them & ideas to use frozen strawberries.
Have you ever found a sale on strawberries and couldn’t help but buy a million pounds?
Ok, so maybe you didn’t buy a MILLION pounds, but I bet you bought a lot knowing it was a good deal and that you were saving money by buying when the price was low, right?
The only catch is, how can you save those strawberries for LATER when the price goes back up?
My go-to option is the easiest and cheapest option – let me show you just how to freeze strawberries!
First off, before we start freezing strawberries, we’re assuming that you’ve already exhausted the list of let’s-make-everything-strawberry.
- Have you tried strawberry lemonade donuts?
- Or how about strawberry lemonade kombucha? (no idea what kombucha is? It’s fermented tea that’s SUPER healthy for you – here’s how you can make it at home for CHEAP!)
- Or no-cook freezer strawberry jam?
- Definitely in ALL THE SMOOTHIES (by the way – I wrote a book on smoothies!)
- Maybe some strawberry pancakes?
- My kids favorite, yogurt popsicles!
- And homemade fruit roll ups!
- Now’s a great time consider dehydrating strawberries too, especially for strawberry chocolate granola.
Once you’ve eaten more strawberries than your kids and you’ve got the dehydrator going to use later as well, that’s when you can tackle freezing strawberries whole or sliced or halved or whatever you want!
How to Freeze Strawberries
I mention these options because how you freeze your strawberries NOW will matter later. For example…
- If you’re making something that needs the berries in small pieces later, maybe a mixed berry pie, or to use as a topping for homemade yogurt, then you’ll want to slice the berries before you freeze them. Otherwise you’ll have big huge chunks of strawberries in your pie and yogurt.
- If you are going to freeze strawberries for smoothies later, or are making something where they might cook down or the size doesn’t matter so much, you might want to just halve them. Better yet – if you have a high powered blender (I use and LOVE my Blendtec), you don’t even have to halve them. You can freeze them whole!
I want to note, that FREEZING strawberries is not the same thing as FREEZE DRIED strawberries.
If you want freeze dried strawberries, you need a special machine called a home freeze dryer. They’re VERY expensive (see for yourself) and they’re not the same thing as a dehydrator. (Just FYI – dehydrators are super affordable. I have this model and LOVE it!)
What’s the difference between all these different methods for preserving strawberries??
- Freeze dried strawberries have roughly 98-99% of the moisture removed.
- Dehydrated strawberries have roughly 90-95% of the moisture removed.
- Freezing strawberries doesn’t remove any moisture, and may in some cases ADD moisture because of the freezing process.
Ok, with that said, let’s get on with how to freeze strawberries!
Step 1: Wash your strawberries.
Strawberries are consistently on the Environmental Working Groups’ Dirty Dozen list, which means it tests high for pesticide residue. Ideally, we SHOULD purchase organic strawberries to help lower the type of pesticide and the amount, but I know that’s not always in the budget.
There are several ways you can wash produce naturally at home, so save your money on those expensive produce cleaners you can find at the store.
Step 2: Prep your strawberries.
This goes back to HOW you’re going to use the strawberries later. Decide whether you need to hull (or not), halve, slice or dice your strawberries and get that out of the way.
It’s perfectly fine if you want to have variety, too. You’ll be able to freeze them all together in the next step.
Step 3: Prepare the strawberries for the freezer.
In order for your strawberries to NOT freeze together into one massive frozen clump of strawberry, we’re using a technique called flash freezing.
To do this, spread your strawberries on a sheet pan in a single layer (I have these sheet pans and LOVE them). It’s okay if they touch slightly, but you don’t want them to overlap.
Freezing whole strawberries usually doesn’t require lining the sheet pan with anything, but the smaller the strawberry, the harder it will be to get off the cookie sheet later on.
I recommend using either a silpat mat (I have this set) or parchment paper if you’re freezing strawberries that are the size of a quarter or smaller. This will allow you to remove the berries from the pan easily, without squishing them in the process.
Step 4: Freezing strawberries.
At this point, your strawberries are ready to be put into the freezer! You don’t need to do anything special – just get them in there and leave them alone for at least a couple hours.
It’s worth noting that if you have a really full sheet pan, it might take up to 4 hours for the fruit to completely freeze through. If there’s not much fruit on your sheet pan, they may be solid enough after just one hour.
Tip: Maximize your freezer space by using cooling racks! I have this set of cooling racks and I use them to stack the sheet pans on top of each other to save room in my freezer. This will let you freeze the berries vertically, saving you space for other things in the freezer!
Step 5: Storing the frozen strawberries.
Once the strawberries are frozen through (see step 4), you can remove them to a freezer-safe container.
I use gallon plastic bags, and re-use them over and over again until they don’t seal anymore. (Unless they held meat – those I don’t re-use.) They’re easy to use, inexpensive, and because they’re flexible, I can move the bag to wherever I have room in the freezer at the time.
Frozen strawberries will last 6 months or more in the freezer.
Step 6: Using frozen strawberries.
Whenever you want to use the frozen strawberries, simply pull out what you need!
You might be wondering how you can freeze strawberries without them getting mushy after they defrost, and to the best of my knowledge, you can’t. It’s just the way it is.
Just like onions and bell peppers and apples all get soft after they’re frozen, strawberries do, too.
If you need your strawberries firm, you’ll want to use fresh strawberries.
Do you take advantage of sales and stock up on strawberries when they’re in season? Or do you go strawberry picking and you end up picking WAY more than you thought you would? I’d love to hear your stories and tips in the comment section below!
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