Learn how to freeze strawberries effectively. Follow this step-by-step guide to washing, hulling, and freezing strawberries for long-lasting freshness. Enjoy delicious frozen strawberries anytime!
Have you ever returned from a strawberry-picking adventure with 16 liters of strawberries?
It may sound unbelievable, but it’s hard for a strawberry lover like me to resist picking fresh, delicious berries.
While some argue that strawberries are available year-round, enjoying locally grown fruits and vegetables is a special feeling. When it comes to seasonal fresh strawberries, their sweet and delectable taste is unrivaled.
I couldn’t wait to get home to make homemade strawberry jam for my Italian crostata recipe.
But what happens when you have more strawberries than you can devour within a few days?
That’s where the art of freezing comes in.
Freezing strawberries is an excellent method for preserving their flavor and extending their usability in various recipes, even when out of season.
6 Easy steps to freeze strawberries
When freezing strawberries, proper preparation is key to ensure the best results. Here is a quick summary of the steps:
Using the best strawberries: Always choose strawberries that are entirely bright red and glossy looking in order to get great-tasting and sweet strawberries once they are thawed. There should be no green or white streaks.
Washing and drying: Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Gently pat them dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
Hulling the berries: Remove the green tops and white centers once the strawberries are dry using a strawberry huller or a paring knife.
Prepping for freezing: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Arrange the hulled strawberries in a single layer on the baking sheet, ensuring they don’t touch each other. This will prevent them from sticking together during freezing.
Freezing: Place the baking sheet with the strawberries in the freezer and let them freeze. Depending on the size of the strawberries, this usually takes about 2-4 hours.
Transferring to a freezer bag: Once the strawberries are frozen, carefully remove them from the baking sheet and transfer them into a Ziplock freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air and seal the bag tightly. Don’t forget to label the bag with the date of freezing.
Join me as I guide you and provide more details about preserving fresh strawberries in your freezer.
Why freeze strawberries?
Freezing strawberries is a simple way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value while extending their usability.
Fresh strawberries have a short shelf life, but freezing them enables you to enjoy their deliciousness in various dishes, including smoothies, baking, desserts, and sauces.
You can enjoy their convenience and delightful taste throughout the year by keeping frozen strawberries on hand. Imagine reaching into your freezer and using the exact amount you need to make delicious treats like strawberry rhubarb compote.
In the long run, it’s much cheaper to freeze your locally picked strawberries rather than buy them in the middle of the winter from the frozen section of your big box store.
Although there are several effective methods, let me show you my preferred method to freeze fresh strawberries.
How to freeze strawberries without sugar
Freezing strawberries is a simple process that helps preserve their freshness for later use. Here are six easy steps to help you preserve them:
Step 1: Selecting Strawberries
Choose the best strawberries for freezing to ensure maximum flavor and texture:
- Opt for strawberries in peak season, available at your local farmer’s market or freshly picked.
- Look for fresh, ripe berries that are firm, plump, and bright red.
- Avoid strawberries with any signs of mold, soft spots, or overripeness.
Step 2: Washing and drying
- Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse under cold running water.
- Allow the water to drain.
- Gently transfer the strawberries to a tea towel and spread them out.
- Pat them down with another tea towel to remove the excess moisture. Never soak these delicate berries as they quickly begin to lose their quality… they become soggy and lose their flavor.
- Allow to air dry for 30-60 minutes.
Step 3: Hulling the berries
Hulling strawberries involves removing the green stems and leaves from the top of each berry. Follow these steps to hull strawberries properly:
- Hold the strawberry firmly in one hand; with the other, insert the tip of a paring knife or a strawberry huller just below the stem.
- Twist the knife or huller gently to remove the stem and leaves from the top of the berry.
- Repeat the process for each strawberry.
- Consider slicing the larger berries in half or quarters, and keep the smaller ones intact.
Step 4: Prepping for freezing
To ensure optimal freezing and easy individual thawing, follow these steps:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Choose a baking sheet that fits comfortably in your freezer.
- Place the hulled strawberries on the parchment paper, ensuring they do not touch each other. This prevents clumping and allows for individual freezing.
Step 5: Freezing
After prepping the strawberries, it’s time to freeze them. Here’s how:
- Place the baking sheet of prepared strawberries in your freezer.
- Allow the strawberries to freeze on the baking sheet for approximately 2-3 hours.
Step 6: Transferring to a freezer bag
Once the strawberries are frozen, storing them properly for long-term preservation is important. Follow these steps for storing frozen strawberries:
- Transfer the frozen strawberries from the baking sheet into a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container.
- Remove as much air as possible from the bag or container to minimize the formation of ice crystals. This can be done using a straw or a vacuum sealer, if available.
- Label the bag or container with the date of freezing for easy reference.
- Place the bag or container in the freezer.
You now have the versatility of using one strawberry at a time (if you want) to make some of your favorite strawberry treats.
Hulling a berry refers to removing the green stem and leaves from the top of the berry. It involves taking out the inedible parts, leaving behind the edible portion of the fruit.
It is important to wash strawberries before hulling them to maintain their quality and prevent them from becoming soggy.
Yes, you can freeze fresh strawberries whole. Wash and dry them thoroughly, remove the stems, and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container for long-term storage.
Frozen strawberries will keep in the freezer for up to one year. They are more likely to experience freezer burn the longer they stay in the freezer. If you have one, use a chest freezer as this will provide a higher quality berry when the time comes to defrost your berries.
How to defrost strawberries
To defrost strawberries based on your preferred timeline, consider these methods:
Immediate use: Utilize the defrost setting on your microwave, checking at one-minute intervals until fully defrosted.
Quick defrost in 15 minutes: Place the strawberries in a leak-proof container within a larger bowl of cold water.
Gradual defrost in approximately 60 minutes: Allow the strawberries to thaw at room temperature by spreading them in a single layer on a large plate.
Slow defrost over 24 hours: Store the strawberries in a sealable container in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that thawing frozen strawberries will naturally release juices, which is normal.
What to do with frozen strawberries
Frozen strawberries are a versatile ingredient that can be used in various ways. Here are just a few ideas:
Making sauces and syrups
Frozen berries are perfect for making sauces and syrups.
Thaw and then blend them in a food processor or blender until smooth. You can strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any seeds or pulp.
Sweeten to taste with your preferred sweetener, and use the sauce as a topping for ice cream, ricotta pancakes, buttermilk waffles, or yogurt. You can also add a dollop of it to this Italian sponge cake.
Using in smoothies and drinks
Frozen strawberries are a great addition to smoothies and milkshakes. Blend frozen strawberries with your favorite liquid (milk, yogurt, or juice) and other fruits or vegetables.
They are also convenient when making summer drinks. Dawn at Girl Heart Food shares her frozen strawberry mango margarita recipe. Doesn’t it look good?
Baking with frozen strawberries
Frozen strawberries can be used in baking, but they usually release more liquid than fresh strawberries. One trick is tossing the thawed strawberries with a light dusting of flour before adding them to your batter.
This will help absorb the excess liquid and prevent your baked goods from becoming too wet. One of my favorite recipes is banana strawberry muffins.
More strawberry desserts
Indulge in the delightful world of strawberry desserts with these mouthwatering recipes that make the most of these juicy red gems.
Whipped Ricotta Parfait: Experience the perfect balance of creamy ricotta cheese and sweet strawberries in this heavenly dessert. Layers of luscious whipped ricotta, fresh strawberries, and a hint of honey create a delightful treat for your taste buds.
Summer Crostata Recipe: Enjoy the flavors of summer with this rustic and charming crostata. A buttery crust cradles a filling of juicy strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, creating a beautiful dessert that showcases the natural sweetness of the fruit.
Macerated Strawberries: Elevate the flavor of your strawberries with a simple maceration process. Combining sliced strawberries with a touch of sugar and a splash of lemon juice enhances their natural sweetness and creates a juicy topping for various desserts.
Strawberry Kiwi Granita: Cool down on a warm day with this refreshing and icy treat. A blend of ripe strawberries and tangy kiwi, transformed into a granita.
Strawberry with Balsamic Glaze: Elevate strawberries’ taste with a balsamic glaze drizzle. Combining the sweet, tangy glaze with ripe strawberries creates a tantalizing dessert that surprises and delights.
Combine frozen strawberries with frozen rhubarb to make a strawberry rhubarb compote. This sauce is perfect with buttermilk biscuits.
Freezing strawberries is an excellent way to preserve their color, quality, and flavor.
It allows you to enjoy your favorite strawberry desserts all year round by simply thawing out the exact amount you need.
So, the next time you go strawberry picking and end up with more than you can consume, don’t let them go to waste!
Freeze them and enjoy the taste of summer anytime you want.
I would love to hear how you plan to use your frozen strawberries!
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have used this method to freeze strawberries, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
How to Freeze Strawberries
- 1 cup strawberries
- Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse under cold running water.
- Remove excess moisture.
- Remove the hulls from each strawberry by pinching out the little green stem. You can use a knife or one of those gadgets to facilitate this process. It is important to remove the hulls after you have rinsed the strawberries otherwise you risk getting soggy strawberries.
- Place the strawberries on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper.
- Place the baking sheet of strawberries in your freezer for about 2-3 hours.
- Transfer the individual partially frozen strawberries in resealable freezer bags.
- Use a straw or a sealer to remove as much as the air as possible as this will reduce the formation of ice crystals.
- Properly label your bags by indicating the date and place your bag in the freezer.
This post was originally published on June 29, 2018 and republished on June 11, 2019 with updated content.
I never knew that you could freeze these. Actually a friend brought me 16 containers today. I had no idea up until now what I would do with all of them! This was very helpful! Thank you!
How wonderful for you! Enjoy!
When these thaw – do they get mushy? Im hoping to freeze & thaw for kids school lunches. Would this be suitable?
Unfortunately, strawberries have a high water content making them mushy when they thaw. They are better suited to make smoothies or incorporate them in yogurts and breakfast bowls. Thanks for stopping by Jess
Perfect timing! I just went strawberry picking and I picked way to many strawberries! Thanks again Maria!
That happens to me all the time Val! Have fun freezing strawberries!!! Thanks for stopping by, appreciate it!
As usual Maria you know just what to do and I never knew strawberries could be frozen. Thank you so much!
My pleasure Lorraine. Although the texture changes, they can still be used in so many ways! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, appreciate it.
Wow! That is a lot of fresh strawberries. Thanks for sharing your tips on freezer storage. Summer can be really busy to use up all those the fresh ones.
What can I say, we just love our local strawberries;) Thank goodness strawberries are so versatile and freeze so well! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
Denise from Urb'n'Spice
This is a great post, Maria! Preserving strawberries at their peak is essential and you have nailed it! Thanks for sharing both your DIY method and recipes to use them. 🙂
Can’t go wrong with fresh strawberries. Thanks so much for stopping by Denise, appreciate your comment 🙂
I grow my own strawberries and I also buy organic berries when they’re in season and freeze, freeze, freeze! Can you ever have too many strawberries? I think not. 🙂 Wonderful post with lots of ideas to use these berries! Thanks Maria!
I agree, strawberries are great year round and it is fun to have a secret stash, so to speak 🙂 Appreciate your comment Elaine, thanks for stopping by ♥
I don’t buy strawberries year round, they are too big, too “pumped” with something, and they lack in flavor. So I only buy them at their peak season. l have never frozen them, but now I have the perfect how-to guide! Thank you!
I agree Nicoletta! Whenever possible, local and organic is the way to go with strawberries.Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Paula Barbarito Levitt
Maria, this is an excellent guide to preserving summer strawberries to enjoy in a few months. I often pine for the delicious berries in September or October but refrain from buying as they are simply without any flavor.
Thanks Paula. This is my preferred method… sometimes I will preserve them in a simple syrup but you are limited as to what you can do with them once they are thawed. Hope you are keeping well my friend ♥ Thanks so much or stopping by 🙂
I love to freeze strawberries! Strangely, here in North Queensland strawberries are cheapest in our late winter early spring so I like to stock up and freeze as many as I can. I usually use them to make jam or strawberry sauce fir icecream or over yogurt.
It truly is a wonderful berry to have on had for wonderful “last minute” treats. Thanks for stopping by Marcellina. Have a great week-end ♥