freeze strawberries

Can You Freeze Strawberries?

The containers of frozen strawberries in your grocery store’s frozen section may have already given this answer away, but how about freezing leftover fresh strawberries you have at home? 

These juicy bite-sized fruits are seasonal, which means that in-season prices are low and availability plenty.

Since they’re small and don’t last very long, being able to freeze them is a fantastic solution to save money by buying bulk during strawberry season and saving on food waste if you cannot finish your stash before they go bad.

There are different ways in which you can preserve sweet strawberries in the freezer. Read on for a full guide to freezing strawberries.

Types of Strawberries

Strawberries are versatile little fruits, rich in vitamin C. They have a sweet taste and a bright red exterior. 

Although there are many different types of strawberries grown across the world, they are easily recognizable by their shape, exterior skin appearance, and color. Wild strawberries are smaller than cultivated strawberries and not as easy to find in grocery stores.

Strawberries can be eaten plain as a snack, served with breakfast cereal or oatmeal, mixed into a fruit salad, used in a tart or cake topping, blended into a smoothie or sorbet, juiced, cooked into a compote or jam, and even tossed into a green salad.

Can Strawberries Be Frozen?

Yes, fresh strawberries can be frozen whole or chopped. Once frozen, strawberries won’t be suitable to eat as is since they will lose their plump, firm texture and become much softer. You can, however, use frozen strawberries in smoothies, pies and tarts, compotes, toppings, sauces, and dressings.

Frozen strawberries are also great for cocktails. You can make a strawberry daiquiri by blending frozen strawberries, simple syrup, and rum.

Strawberries nearing their expiry or showing signs of spoilage should not be frozen. Only use fresh ones since the quality of older strawberries once defrosted won’t be pleasant. It is important to protect strawberries from contact with air and moisture on freezing as this may cause freezer burn and quality deterioration.


How To Freeze Strawberries

You can either use a dry pack or wet pack method to freeze fresh strawberries.

Dry Pack Method

Step 1: Sort and Clean

Sort through the dark red strawberries and remove any damaged ones which have developed mushy patches. These should be discarded. Alternatively, you can cut away the damaged part with a paring knife and use the part of the strawberry that is still in good shape.

Soaking the strawberries before freezing may cause some flavor loss. It is thus better to clean the strawberries by rinsing them in a colander under cold running water.

Step 2: Cut

Gently dry the washed strawberries with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel as excess moisture will form ice crystals and cause textural damage during the freezing process. Remove and discard the green stems. Cut the strawberries in halves or smaller chunks depending on how you wish to use them after freezing.

Step 3: Sugar Coat (optional)

To preserve the flavor and texture, you can optionally coat the strawberries in granulated sugar. Place the sliced berries into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Give them a light stir until the sugar starts to dissolve around the strawberries.

Step 4: Flash Freeze

Spread the strawberries in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place them in the freezer just until fully frozen. This quick-freeze process prevents the berries from sticking together in a big clump, allowing you to remove just as much as you need from the freezer at a time.

Step 5: Pack

Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and pack the strawberries into resealable freezer bags. Press out any remaining air to help avoid freezer burn and seal tightly. Alternatively, you can use airtight freezer containers.

Step 6: Label and Freeze

Label the bag or freezer container with the date and freeze the strawberries.

Wet Pack Method

When you use this method to freeze strawberries, prep time will be a little longer. These sweetened strawberries are great used in blended cocktails and smoothies, fruit salads, dessert toppings, pancake or waffle toppings with cream, and as jams.

Step 1 and 2: Sort, Clean, and Cut

Follow step 1 and 2 as outlined above to wash and clean the strawberries. Hull the strawberries, remove the green stem end, and cut the berries in half if desired.

Step 3: Prepare Sugar Syrup

Prepare sugar syrup by boiling together two parts of sugar to three parts of water. Once the sugar is dissolved and boiled, cool the syrup down completely either at room temperature or by placing it into the refrigerator.

Step 4: Pack

Pack the strawberry pieces into a freezer-friendly airtight container or resealable freezer bag. Cover the berries with the sugar syrup, leaving at least an inch of headspace at the top to allow for the expansion of liquids on freezing.

If using a freezer bag press out any excess air before sealing.

Step 5: Label and Freeze

Label the bag or freezer container with the date and freeze the strawberries.


How To Thaw Frozen Strawberries

Strawberries can be blended into smoothies without thawing, adding a lovely sweet icy element to the drink. If you are cooking the strawberries into a sauce or compote, you can also add them to the saucepan frozen.

Strawberries will leak juices when thawing so you may need to add a bit of thickener when cooking a sauce or pie filling from frozen berries.

Alternatively, strawberries can be thawed using the below methods.

Refrigerator: Place the packet of frozen berries on a plate in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

Water bath: Place the sealed bag of frozen strawberries in a bowl of cold water to defrost quickly.

Microwave: Although using the microwave is not the best choice for thawing strawberries, you can use the defrost setting as a last-minute option. Microwave and check the strawberries at 30 to 60-second intervals giving them a slight stir until defrosted.


FAQs

Conclusion

Whether you need a waffle topping, cake filling, or nutritious smoothie, frozen strawberries can add a great fruity burst of flavor in an instant and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Due to their high water content, strawberries lose their firm texture once thawed. However, this does not influence the flavor which still makes them suitable for use in a variety of dishes and drinks. 

It is vital to protect strawberries from contact with air and moisture when freezing as this will result in faster deterioration of their quality.

If you love strawberries, go ahead and make use of in-season strawberry specials by buying the sweetest produce at the best price. Not only will you get the best quality products, but freezing it allows you to enjoy strawberry treats all year round.

See more: Can You Freeze Cherries?

*Image by depositphotos.com/zoldatoff

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