The Best Way to Freeze Strawberries for Smoothies, Jam, and Baking
One of the sweetest moments in spring and summer is biting into a fragrant, dark red, perfectly ripe strawberry. The farm where we order a weekly box of produce from recently had the option of tacking on a flat of their gorgeous strawberries to our order, and we jumped at the offer. But even after splitting the flat with some good friends, we still had six baskets to eat up. And while my daughter can put away strawberries at an amazing rate, I knew we wouldn’t be able to eat them all before they went bad.
I quickly went into preserving mode with my favorite method: freezing. Freezing is the easiest way to stash away strawberries for future smoothies, baked goods, jams, and more. Even though I froze amazingly sweet strawberries recently, I also freeze not-so-great strawberries. While they’re not good eaten out of hand, they’re perfectly fine in other preparations and nothing goes to waste. Here’s how to do it.
The Best Way to Freeze Strawberries
Freezing strawberries is an easy process and works the same whether you’re freezing just a few berries or a few baskets. While you can certainly freeze whole strawberries with their tops attached (did you know that the tops are edible?), I find them too big to blend up easily, and you have to defrost them before they can be chopped into smaller pieces for jam or baked goods. Instead, you’re better off removing the tops and cutting up the berries first.
It’s easiest broken down into four steps: remove the tops, cut the berries, freeze in a single layer, and store in an airtight container.
1. Remove the tops: Hull the strawberries or just simply slice the tops off.
2. Cut the strawberries: How you chop them up is really up to you. I tend to quarter medium-sized strawberries, but you can slice or dice them up if you want instead. Think about the way you would use them and cut accordingly. For instance, if your favorite muffin recipe calls for diced strawberries, go with that!
3. Freeze strawberries in a single layer: Once the strawberries are cut up, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. It’s important not to stack the strawberries or have them packed together, as you want each piece to individually freeze. Pop the tray into the freezer and freeze until the strawberries are solid.
4. Transfer to freezer bags: Transfer the frozen strawberries to freezer bags for long-term storage. Because each piece was frozen individually, they won’t stick together and you can take out just what you need.
It’s best to use frozen strawberries within a few months, and make sure to press any air out of the bag after you take any out so the rest don’t get freezer burn.
All the Ways to Use Frozen Strawberries
A stash of frozen strawberries means that there are so many tasty possibilities at your fingertips. Use them in sangria or as refreshing ice cubes to keep fruity cocktails cold, make a small batch of jam or strawberry sauce, stir them into pancake or muffin batter, or throw them into the blender to make smoothies. You can use them straight from the freezer, or you can thaw them first if you’d like.