Fresh picked strawberries

So, I was told that this is the last weekend for strawberries. I hate when strawberry season ends, but we have taken full advantage of the season, we have made preserves and eaten a ton fresh, but I still need to get some in the freezer.

I whole-heartedly believe strawberries are best enjoyed just as they are: fresh and natural,  but I also like to freeze them so we can enjoy them all year long. Freezing is about the simplest form of food preservation, which makes it ideal for this time of the year when we are still crazy busy wrapping up planting and starting to bale hay.

Here are suggestions for 3 Super Easy Ways to Freeze Fresh Strawberries . I use all of them, they each have their benefits. The recommended storage time of frozen strawberries is 6 months, they don’t spoil, but start to lose quality and become more susceptible to freezer burn after that.

Freezing Whole Berries

This is my favorite way to freeze berries, because I generally don’t want or need extra sugar in my smoothies or recipes. This method does run a higher risk of the berries developing freezer burn without the protective sugar barrier, so it is best to use them up within six months. I have found I have best results freezing whole sugar-free berries that have been packaged and sealed using my Foodsaver vacuum sealer.

Freezing Whole Strawberries

  1. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Don’t soak them long in water as this will result in water-logged berries with a loss of flavor!
  2. Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled.
  3. Place the strawberries on a baking sheet, not touching one another, and freeze until solid.
  4. Transfer the strawberries to plastic resealable bags or airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Strawberries in Simple Syrup

This is an old school method,  whole or sliced berries are covered in a mildly sweet sugar-water syrup before they are frozen. This is a nice method if you are interested in infusing your berries with other flavors, try adding some orange zest or vanilla bean to the syrup.

  1. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Don’t soak them long in water as this will result in water-logged berries with a loss of flavor!
  2. Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled.
  3. Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water. For easier dissolving you can use hot water, but be sure to let cool down the syrup before using.
  4. Place whole or sliced berries in containers and cover with cold syrup; use about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of syrup for each pint container.
  5. Package and store in the freezer for up to six months.

 

Dry Sugar Pack Method

When I am not freezing whole sugar-free berries this is my second favorite method. Instead of adding water, sugar is used to draw out the natural strawberry juices to create a syrup. Once thawed this makes for an easy dessert, serve with biscuits and whipped cream for strawberry shortcake.

strawberries with sugar in pyrex bowls

 

  1. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Don’t soak them long in water as this will result in water-logged berries with a loss of flavor!
  2. Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled.
  3. Slice the strawberries in half lengthwise. Try to make each half close to equal in size.
  4. Add sugar. Place the trimmed and halved strawberries into a mixing bowl. Add the 3/4 cup of sugar per quart of berries. Using a clean spoon or spatula, mix the sugar into the berries, combining thoroughly, but being careful not to smush the berries.
  5. Allow juices to form. Once all strawberries are coated with sugar and the sugar has started to dissolve, let the strawberries and sugar sit for 15 minutes. This allows the sugar to draw out the juice in the strawberries and make a syrup.
  6. Package. Before packaging the strawberries for the freezer, make sure that all the sugar has dissolved. Pack the strawberries into freezer plastic bags and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Will you be freezing strawberries this weekend too?

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