Freezing strawberries is a fabulous way to enjoy their fresh sweet taste all year round. Generally speaking, strawberries that have been frozen and then thawed will not retain their original shape and texture, so they are best used as an ingredient in sauces, preserves, jams, smoothies, or in baked goods. Frozen strawberries make a great garnish for cocktails or mixed drinks like margaritas or daiquiris.
When you're freezing strawberries by any method, make sure you leave about one inch headspace in your food storage containers or jars. Berries can be frozen whole, sliced, or even crushed for making strawberry puree. Here are the three most popular methods of freezing fresh strawberries.
To freeze strawberries without sugar, simply follow these steps:
- Wash berries in cold water and pat dry. Discard any strawberries that show signs of mold, damage, or discoloration. Remove stems and leaves with a small, sharp knife.
- Place berries on a baking sheet, arranging them close together but not touching each other. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about an hour, then transfer sheets to the freezer for 6 hours or overnight.
- Once the berries are frozen, seal in an airtight container or zippered plastic bag and store in the freezer.
- Alternatively, you can crush or slice your strawberries before freezing them. Place them in airtight containers. If using sliced berries, mix one quart of water with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice; pour mixture over berries to cover. Seal containers and freeze. The lemon juice will help the strawberries retain some of their color.
To freeze strawberries with sugar syrup:
- Prepare strawberries as you would for freezing without sugar. Berries can be frozen whole or sliced. Place them in pint containers for freezing.
- Make your sugar syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar for every 1 1/4 cups of water. Mix well to dissolve sugar.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the berries, using about 1/2 cup per pint container.
- Seal containers and freeze.
To freeze strawberries dry with sugar:
- Prepare strawberries as you would for freezing without sugar.
- Place them, whole, sliced, or crushed, in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the strawberries with superfine sugar (also called fruit sugar), using about 3/4 cup sugar per quart of berries. You can also use regular granulated sugar if that's all you have available.
- Stir the berries gently until sugar is dissolved. Pack them into containers and freeze.
It's always a good idea to label and date your containers, especially if you freeze them regularly. Frozen berries can be stored in the freezer for up to one year. To use your frozen strawberries, you can thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or use them frozen. They taste great in blender drinks or smoothies! Do not refreeze them after they have thawed.