Do your frozen strawberries turn into one big frozen chunk of berries?
Do you love strawberries, but only purchase them when they are fresh from the store costing you extra money each year because the berries are out of season?
Does it feel like freezing strawberries takes too much of your valuable time?
Or do you feel like the taste and texture of frozen strawberries are so inferior to fresh berries that you don’t want to entertain the idea of freezing strawberries?
I completely understand where you are coming from with each of these concerns. A few years ago I had similar thoughts, but with time I figured out ways to address each question. So today, I’m going to help dispell some of your concerns by sharing my tips and tricks to freeze quarts of strawberries each year.
Avoiding a Block of Strawberries – How to Freeze Strawberries
Preserving the harvest to use later in the year doesn’t need to be a labor-intensive task especially with simple fruit like strawberries. In only a few minutes once or twice a week during your local strawberry season you can freeze enough to feed your family throughout the remainder of the year.
I avoid finding a block of strawberries in my freezer bag buy flash freezing the strawberries before I put them in the freezer bag. This process is so simple.
First, wash your strawberries in water and let the water drain off in a colander.
Next, cut the strawberry tops off the strawberries.
As I remove the tops of the strawberries I sort the strawberries. If the strawberries are really small or I had to cut a spot from them, I slice the strawberries and put them into a bowl to either eat fresh or to make jam. If the strawberries remain whole and are a decent size, I place the top down (the side with the strawberry top removed) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.
After I fill the cookie sheet with strawberries I put it in the freezer for 3-4 hours or overnight. This amount of time allows the strawberries to freeze individually. When the time is up, I quickly put all the strawberries in a freezer bag and store them for use later.
Using this method I avoid having a block of frozen strawberries.
Buy In Season Strawberries
I very rarely purchase strawberries out of season. The taste of local strawberries is so fabulous that shipped in strawberries rarely compare in taste to what I pick every summer. Plus, if you are freezing strawberries for later it is much cheaper to purchase strawberries during the height of the harvest season.
By purchasing strawberries in the season you will save a significant amount of money. Grocery stores usually sell 12-ounce bags of frozen strawberries for $3.00 in our neck of the woods. It is rare to find a pound of fresh strawberries for less than $2.50 a container. Usually, it is more than that!
Picking strawberries from my garden cost me virtually nothing. I spend a minimal amount to plant new berries every few years and some time to maintain the berry patch.
If you do not have the space for a small strawberry patch go to your local you-pick farm and pick your own strawberries. I use you-pick farms to supplement the number of berries we use every year. A quart of strawberries from our local you-pick farm costs $2.50 per quart. This is much cheaper than buying them at the farmer’s market.
Buying strawberries in season will give you the best-tasting strawberries to eat fresh or freeze strawberries for later. Plus, you typically will save money over the course of the year.
Lack of Time
We all are looking for more time these days. But I promise you freezing strawberries to use later doesn’t take much more time than cleaning the strawberries to eat fresh does.
If you lack the time to pick your own strawberries, purchase a few from your local market when fresh strawberries are at their cheapest and freeze them. You will still save money and have strawberries on hand in the dead of winter when you’d otherwise be paying $4.99 a pound to put strawberries in your oatmeal or muffins.
Ways to Use Frozen Strawberries
Frozen strawberries can be used in so many ways. Don’t let their mushier texture dissuade you.
Dan and I eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning and we usually put a serving of berries or peaches on the oatmeal. Frozen strawberries go wonderfully with hot oatmeal.
You can thaw the frozen strawberries and make baked goods with them. Just be sure to drain all the juices off of the strawberries before putting them into your batter.
If you do not have time to make jam during the summer when strawberries are in season freeze strawberries and make jam later. Seasonal recipes sometimes call for strawberries to be used with another fruit like cranberries or apples. Trust me, you will be thankful that you have strawberries in the freezer when you come across a recipe that you want to try out of strawberry season.
Freezing strawberries using my method described above gives you the option of using a few or as many strawberries as you want to make smoothies, frozen homemade strawberry yogurt popsicles and more.
Follow Summer Kitchen Creations on Pinterest for more wonderful strawberry recipes and other great finds.
What other ways do you use frozen strawberries?