We love to pick berries.
Every year we try to go blueberry and strawberry picking. The kids love to snack on them while they’re picking them, and they love to snack on them when they get home.
Unfortunately, freshly picked strawberries do not stay nice very long. That’s why I like to freeze them so we can enjoy them for months after we pick them (if the kids let them last that long!)
If you don’t have a u-pick in your area or if strawberry picking season has passed, you can also look for good sales on strawberries and freeze th eones that you pick up from the grocery store!
Ready to learn how to freeze strawberries? I’m ready to teach you.
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What You Need to Freeze Strawberries
- Fresh berries
- Wax paper or Parchment Paper
- Cookie sheets
- Quart Freezer Baggies or Reusable Freezer Baggies
Step One: Pick Your Strawberries
If you live in a rural area, there’s a good chance you have a u-pick farm near you. We’re fortunate to have a strawberry patch near us.
To find a u-pick in your area, ask around. Look on Facebook, check out Google, or ask other people in your community. Hopefully, you have somewhere to go near you!
If all else fails, you can plant your own strawberries. OR you can purchase them in bulk when your local supermarket has them on sale. I’ve had some luck getting cheap strawberries at our local Aldi, and I’ve purchased extra to freeze.
Step Two: Wash the Strawberries
I’ve used two methods to do this and I think both are effective.
For both methods, you put the berries in a large bowl and fill it with water.
Next, add one part vinegar to three parts water. The low pH in the vinegar kills much of the bacteria on the fruit.
Another way you can clean the fruit is to use lemon juice. Lemons are highly acidic which means they have a low pH and are less likely to grow bacteria.
While your berries are soaking in their water bath, gently swirl to remove grime from the fruit. Once the berries have soaked for a time you can put them in a colander to dry. At this point, you can also gently remove water with a paper towel.
Note: If you’re rough with the berries they will bruise and not last as long.
Note number 2: A lot of resources say that you should not wash your berries until you’re ready to use them as the moisture can affect the quality of the berry.
Step Three: Cut Your Strawberries
After your berries are washed you can choose how you want them to be cut up. I usually make some cut into slices and the rest I just remove the top. My kids like to eat them frozen so they enjoy them sliced. For everything else, whole strawberries work great and take less time to process.
Step Four: Put Strawberries on Cookie Sheets
Once your berries are fairly dry, you can put them on cookie sheets. I put down parchment paper or wax paper to make it easier to get them off, but you don’t have to do this step. The berries can be put right on the tray.
Remember to remove the rotten or bruised fruit. A good rule of thumb with preserving food is — if it’s not good to start, freezing it or canning it will not make it better. So in other words, if you think it looks bad now, toss it in the compost pile. It won’t get better by freezing it.
Put the Strawberries in the Freezer
The fourth step is really easy. To do this, you just need to find a flat spot in your freezer to put your berries that are on the trays. Leave your strawberries in the freezer for a few hours until they’re hard.
This step is necessary because it keeps the frozen fruit from sticking together. Otherwise, you often have a bag of berries that merge into one giant blob. No good.
Here’s what they look like when they’re frozen:
Step Five: Put the Strawberries in Freezer Bags and Label
The final step is easy and satisfying. Once the berries are frozen, you can pop them off the tray and put them into freezer baggies. I like to use reusable freezer bags to save money and to produce less plastic waste. While it can sometimes be a pain to wash them, I wouldn’t go back to using one-time use ones. The reusable ones are better for the environment and it’s cheaper than buying something I’m only going to use once.
If you want you can label the reusable plastic bags with masking tape and a sharpie. If you’re using regular plastic baggies you can write the date right on the bag.
Once the bags are full, seal them and put them back in the freezer. Enjoy beautiful frozen berries for months!
How Long Do the Strawberries Last in the Freezer?
The strawberries can stay safe to eat in the freezer for 8-12 months depending on some factors. If the fruit was fresh when frozen it has a longer life. It also lasts longer if they’re kept completely frozen. Berries are susceptible to freezer burn and while that may not affect the safety of the fruit, it will certainly affect the taste.
What to Do With Frozen Strawberries?
Freezing fruit is a really easy and fun way to save the taste of summer. It’s also a good way to keep the nutrients in them if you store them shortly after picking them.
Buuuut…what can you do with frozen fruit?
If you’re my kids, you can just eat them frozen. I don’t prefer to do this but they love it!
Here are some other ideas for what to do with frozen strawberries and blueberries.
1. Make Pie with Frozen Strawberries
Yes, you can make pie with frozen berries! This is a good option and the warm gooey pie will remind you of summer even in the coldest winters.
2. Make Jam or Jelly with Frozen Strawberries
If you’re into canning but you’re short on time when you picked your berries, you can always freeze them first. When you’re ready to start making your jams and jellies you can use your frozen berries.
3. Make Smoothies with Frozen Strawberries
We love smoothies at our house and frozen fruit is the perfect addition. I like strawberries and blueberries best, but raspberries work too if you don’t mind seeds.
4. Make Healthy Strawberry Milkshake
The fourth idea came from my sister-in-law Ruth. Today, she posted on her Instagram how to make easy homemade milkshakes with frozen berries. The best part is it only takes 3 ingredients.
Add frozen berries, milk of choice, and real maple syrup. She didn’t use exact measurements but suggested mixing to taste! These are just a few ideas for what to do with your frozen strawberries and blueberries. What are your favorite ways to use frozen fruit?
5. Make Strawberry Ice Cream
Those of you who like to make homemade icecream with an ice cream maker can use your frozen strawberries to make strawberry ice cream!
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Freeze Strawberries
You have questions, I have answers. Here are some answers to some of the most common questions about how to freeze strawberries.
- Should I wash strawberries before freezing them?
I believe you should. That helps remove possible bacteria or contaminants before you freeze them and you won’t have to worry about washing them after they’re already frozen.
2. How long do fresh strawberries last in the freezer?
Strawberries can last from 8-12 months in the freezer. They may start to get freezer burn during that time period and begin to lose quality of flavor, but they should continue to be safe to eat.
3. Is it better to freeze strawberries sliced or whole?
It really doesn’t matter how you freeze them. This is entirely up to your preference and what you want to do with the frozen strawberries.
4. Do you need to put sugar on the strawberries before you freeze them?
Only if you want the strawberries to be extra sweet. You do not need to add sugar to help in the preservation process.
5. Can you put the strawberries in a plastic container instead of a plastic bag?
Yes you can!
6. How to defrost strawberries once they’re frozen.
You can defrost the strawberries by moving them from your freezer to your refrigerator. Leave them there for about 6-8 hours or until they’re soft again. Defrosted strawberries will be a different texture than they were pre-frozen, so keep that in mind. If you just want them for snacking, you may want to eat them frozen as opposed to thawing them out first.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a food safety expert. It’s extremely important to use proper safety when preserving and canning food. For more information about safety check out the USDA guidelines for freezing food. You can also check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Alternative Ways of Preserving Strawberries
Have a lot of strawberries and want to try other ways of preserving them? Yes! Here are some other methods for preserving strawberries.
- Dehydrate the strawberries. Using an Excalibur dehydrator (that’s what I use!) or other type of dehydrator you can dry your strawberries to extend their life.
- Make fruit leather. Using your oven or dehyrator, you can make fruit leather with your strawberries to preserve it.
- Can jams, jellies, and sauces. You can turn your strawberries into jelly or sauce and can them in a waterbath canner.
Do You Know How to Freeze Strawberries Now?
Do you have an abundance of strawberries? Are you going to freeze them? I’d love to hear what you think about this method and what you like to do with your frozen strawberries in the comments below!