Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Freeze Strawberries

The excitement you feel from knowing you just picked your own in-season, farm-fresh fruit can quickly dissipate when you bring it all home and see it in the harsh light of your kitchen. Picker's remorse sets in. What to do with eighteen pounds of strawberries lying around the kitchen? Freeze 'em!

We've never frozen fresh fruit before, so I searched the internet for proper techniques, and predictably, found some conflicting directions. Do I leave the caps on or remove them before freezing? In the end, I decided to follow these directions which say to hull/remove the green caps on strawberries before freezing. I chose this option because it seems more convenient--I'll do all the work upfront and when I'm ready to use the berries, they'll be ready to go after I defrost them.

How to freeze strawberries (and what I learned):
1. Wash strawberries carefully. Strawberries are delicate.They bruise and squish easily, so take care not to poke the flesh when washing. Of course, if they do squish, feel free to eat and enjoy that fresh-picked berry.

2. Let the berries drain (about 10-15 minutes) and remove the caps (aka, hull the berries). I've seen fancy hulling gadgets in the stores that look like tweezers, but I just use a plain old paring knife to pop the stem out. Again, take care not to pierce the flesh, or you'll have to eat that juicy berry right then and there.

3. Once strawberries are drained, spread them on a baking sheet or pan. Berries should be in one layer and not overlapping to prevent them from sticking together in the freezer. Note 1: Use whatever flat dish you have. I have a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, and the freezer door wouldn't close because the baking sheets stuck out. I had to improvise. I used glass Pyrex dishes and pie pans. Note 2: Put wax paper down on any glass surface before you spread the strawberries out or they will stick very firmly to the glass and it will be difficult to get them off.

Forgot to add wax paper. That was a mistake.

4. Freeze the strawberries. The directions I followed said to let the berries freeze overnight, but mine were frozen solid after about four hours.

Don't you just want to add whipped cream or chocolate to these?

5. Bag the strawberries and return them to the freezer. Remove the strawberries from the pans and place in freezer bags or any other container used for holding frozen food. We filled five one-gallon size Ziplock freezer bags. The directions I followed also said to label and date the bags, but you'll see that I didn't do that because I can tell they're strawberries and I froze them all over Memorial Day weekend. If I do this again before this original batch runs out, of course I would write a date on the bag.

Final thoughts:
- The strawberries at the bottom of the flats got a little squishy from the weight of the other berries. We didn't freeze those; we'll just eat them as they are. This is a good reminder for the next time I go picking though: be careful about the weight piling on top of the berries at the bottom of the container.
- My friends sliced up the berries before they froze them. I didn't do that, but I don't see why you couldn't.
- The purpose of freezing these berries was to have a plethora of farm-fresh berries to enjoy over the winter. After going through all this work, it'll probably be winter before I'm ready to look at another strawberry again. I wonder how long all these will last? I guess it'll depend on what I use them for. Now I just need to find some interesting recipes.

Do you have any tips/techniques you'd like to share for freezing or generally preserving fruit or vegetables picked from the garden?


  1. How appropriate for my post today, we have quite a few that have ripened, I love home grown strawberries. Thanks for your visit, love new friends.

  2. I have found that if you put quarts of freshly picked strawberries inside a ziplock bag, suck the air out, and put them in the refrigerator, they will keep and stay delicious for up to a month.

  3. Wow, this tip is very useful. We can only grow strawberries in the highland farms. Quite often, I do not buy much but now that I know I can freeze it, I can buy more!

  4. Bumble Lush, I have updated my strawberry post with your link. I hope you don't mind and thank you very much for the valuable information. My link is here:


    If the link doesn't work just type in your search engine...

    19 Luscious Strawberry Dessert Recipes, they are from the Better Home and Garden website. Yum!

  6. @Ann-thank you, likewise!

    @Carolyn--thanks for the refrigeration tip. I'll try that for the ones I want to eat sooner.

    @Autumn Belle--I don't mind at all, thank you!

    @Vetsy--nice! I'll check that link out. I actually just found one for strawberry bruschetta...sounds interesting!

  7. Good tips. I usually eat them long before they get frozen. I grow them but never get enough to freeze. But I will remember if I get some from a local farm.

  8. Wow, what an undertaking to hull so many strawberries. Hope your fingers have recovered.

  9. I certainly understand your remorse! We grow apples, blackberries, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums here on our little farm, in addition to a vegetable garden.

    I love having access to all that organic goodness, but I sometimes grow weary of picking and preparing it all for storage - that is, until I take those first bites in the off-season. Then I'm reminded of one of the reasons we grow it all.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage


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