Fresh local Strawberries can be a year around treat if you know how to freeze them properly. Here are some simple steps from pickyourown.org :
- a pan or tray that will fit in your freezer
- a strainer or colander
- Vacuum food sealer or “ziploc” type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
Step 1 – Get the freshest strawberries you can!
Start with the freshest strawberries you can get. Look for plump, full berries with a good color. I’ve used blueberries as an example, but these directions would equally well for any other berry (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) See the picking tips page for other berries.
Step 2 – Wash and sort the strawberries.
Wash the strawberries in a bowl of plain cold water.
Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy strawberries. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the strawberries as they float. With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy berries get caught in your fingers.
Step 3 – Drain the strawberries
Use a large sieve or colander to remove as much water as possible. I usually let them sit for about 10 minutes in the colander.
Step 4 – Cut the leaves (hulls) off the strawberries
Cut the hulls off the strawberries, then drain the water from them. You can cut the berries up, or leave them whole, as you like.
Step 5 – Put them in a freezer bag
Pack a freezer bag with the strawberries, and exclude as much as air as you can when you seal the bag.
I love the FoodSavers with their vacuum sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don’t have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags. Remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. TIP: Get a straw and zip your freezer bag leaving just enough opening for the straw. Insert. Suck air out through straw! Remove straw and close.
Pop them into the coldest part of the freezer, or the quick freeze shelf, if your freezer has one! Leave them in the freezer overnight, to get completely frozen.
Step 6 – Label the bags!
Of course, you’ll want to label them with the contents and date, or all this work could be wasted, if you can’t identify them later, or don’t know how old they are.
Step 7 – Done!
Pop them into the deep freeze, or in the coldest part of your regular freezer!
To use them, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t recommend the microwave unless you are planning to cook with them!
- Harvest early in the morning, especially if the weather is hot, to get peak flavor.
- Harvest the berries at its peak maturity, but not overripe and mushy.
- Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with ice until then
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