If you happen to have an abundance of fresh strawberries and want to extend their shelf life, freezing them is an excellent solution.
From refreshing smoothies to chewy sweet treats, there are numerous ways to put frozen strawberries to good use! Below, you'll find a range of helpful tips and tricks on how to freeze strawberries effectively.
You can certainly thaw frozen strawberries as needed. However, keep in mind that their texture won't be as firm as when they are fresh due to the expansion of water during the freezing process, which compromises the cell structure of the strawberries. As a result, thawed strawberries will be mushy. Nevertheless, they remain delicious and nutritious!
Thawed frozen strawberries are best utilized in cooked recipes such as pies, berry crisps, chia seed jam, or as delectable toppings for pancakes and waffles.
It is highly recommended to wash fresh strawberries before freezing them, as it is unlikely that you will wash them once they are frozen. At the very least, give them a thorough rinse and pat them dry. Alternatively, you can opt to soak your strawberries in a water and vinegar solution.
To create the soaking solution, combine 2 1/2 cups of water with 1/2 cup of vinegar, and allow the strawberries to soak for a few minutes. This will help eliminate any bacteria or mold that may cause your strawberries to spoil quickly. The diluted vinegar will not impact their flavor. Remember to drain them well and pat them dry.
Now that your strawberries are clean, you'll need to remove the hulls. The quickest method is to simply slice off the top portion, ensuring efficiency.
If you wish to preserve as much of the red strawberry as possible, you can use a paring knife to carefully remove only the green leaves from the center. This method requires a bit more time, but it allows you to retain more of the strawberry itself.
After removing the hulls, you can choose to freeze the strawberries either whole or halved. Halving them makes blending them for smoothies a breeze but if you have a powerful blender, you can save time by freezing them whole instead.
To prevent the strawberries from freezing together in a large clump, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. This will make it easier to use them later when you want to measure out the frozen strawberries for a delightful Strawberry Banana Smoothie.
Ensure that the baking sheet is lined with parchment paper to prevent the berries from sticking.
Allow them to freeze for approximately 2 hours until they are solid.
Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or storage bag. This will protect against freezer burn and eliminate the need to occupy excessive freezer space with a bulky sheet pan.
When stored in an airtight container, frozen strawberries should last in your freezer for up to 6 months. Personally, I prefer using reusable silicone bags for storage. However, if you're anything like me, you'll likely use up your supply long before the 6-month mark!
By following these simple steps, you can enjoy the lusciousness of fresh strawberries even after the season has passed. Freeze them effectively, and unlock a world of possibilities for incorporating strawberries into your favorite dishes all year round!