Don't let extra strawberries sitting around the house go to waste. Freezing strawberries drastically extends the shelf life and ensures they stay tasting fresh (even when thawed). Knowing how to freeze strawberries the right way is worth your while.
Prepare the Strawberries
Generally, the best time to freeze strawberries is when they are dark red in color, fully ripe, and firm to the touch. To prepare strawberries for freezing:
- Remove the caps (and stems if applicable).
- Wash them thoroughly, but don't let the strawberries soak in water as you'll lose nutrients that way.
- Drain the strawberries in a colander and place them on paper towels to dry.
Methods for Freezing Strawberries
Select the method you'd like to use and follow the steps outlined.
Freezing Whole Strawberries With Sugar
When you're ready to freeze whole fresh strawberries, do the following:
- Mix 1 quart (approximately 1 1/3 pounds) of berries with 3/4 cup of sugar and stir the mixture until the majority of the sugar dissolves.
- Let the strawberry and sugar mixture stand for about 15 minutes.
- Then, place the berries into a covered freezer-safe container(s) and allow 1 inch headspace in the top of the container.
You can also pack whole strawberries in a simple syrup or fruit syrup, if desired -- simply make sure all strawberries are entirely coated with the syrup, leaving about the same amount of headspace (1 inch) in a covered container. Place in the freezer until you're ready to thaw and serve the berries.
Freezing Chopped or Sliced Berries
After preparing fresh strawberries for freezing, slice or halve the berries and place them in a bowl. Then follow these steps:
- For every 1 quart of sliced strawberries you'll add 3/4 cup of sugar to the bowl and stir until most of the sugar dissolves.
- Allow the mixture to sit about 15 minutes.
- Place the strawberries in a tightly sealed freezer-safe container with about 1 inch headspace, place in the freezer until you're ready to thaw, and enjoy!
As with whole strawberries, you can pack sliced or chopped strawberries in syrup instead of sugar. Make sure the strawberries are fully coated with syrup before you freeze them.
Freezing Mashed Berries
To freeze mashed or pureed strawberries, prepare the berries in the same fashion as whole strawberries. Continue with these steps:
- Add 3/4 cup of sugar to 1 quart of berries (use syrup or juice instead, if desired).
- Chop and mash your berries with a potato masher or fork. Another option is to blend strawberries in a blender to make strawberry puree.
- Pack the mashed berry mixture in a sealed freezer-safe container with about 1-inch headspace.
Freezing Strawberries Without Sugar
You don't need to add sugar or syrup when freezing strawberries. Follow this method for whole or sliced berries.
- Place washed and drained strawberries on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking together and spread them apart in a single layer.
- Place your tray in the freezer for about 1 to 2 hours, or until the berries feel solid.
- Transfer the strawberries to freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers and allow 1/2-inch headspace.
- Place containers in the freezer until you're ready to thaw and serve your berries.
Freezer-Safe Storage Containers
The following freezer safe containers work well for freezing strawberries:
- Zip-top freezer bags
- Plastic containers with lids
- Aluminum containers with sealable lids
- Glass containers with plastic lids
As mentioned in the methods above, don't forget to leave room at the top of the container especially if you're packing strawberries in a premade syrup.
Safe Freezer Storage Times and Temps
The ideal temperature for freezing foods is 0 degrees Fahrenheit, says Penn State University. The University of Nebraska says you can safely store fresh fruit in the freezer (in proper storage containers) at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 9 to 12 months, while fresh fruit usually lasts in the refrigerator just 3 to 5 days.
How to Thaw Frozen Strawberries
Penn State University says frozen berries taste the best in a slightly thawed state with several ice crystals. This is because the berries soften when thawed. Simply thaw in the refrigerator or in room temperature until the berries have reached the desired slightly thawed state.