Friday, May 7, 2010

How to freeze strawberries

 Our strawberry season at Waterberry, will soon be just a memory. It's sad to see the berry season wind down and the last of the berries picked. Luckily, we know we've got berries put away that we'll enjoy through out the rest of the year. Strawberries can be made into jams or preserves, but the easiest way to preserve strawberries is freezing. There are a couple of different methods that can be used for freezing your fresh strawberries.
The first, and by far the most simple way to freeze your strawberries is, freezing the whole berries. This is the best method for very ripe, red berries. Wash and sort the berries, discarding any bad berries. Hull the berries (remove the green tops and stem) and place the whole hulled berries into plastic freezer bags. Lay the bag flat and try to have the berries in a single layer. Gently push as much air out of the bag as you can, taking care not to crush the berries. I stack mine on a cookie sheets and put them in the freezer. This way they stay nice and flat and be much easier to stack in the freezer, once frozen.

Another way we like to freeze our strawberries is, sliced with a little sugar. This method is great for slightly under ripe or not very sweet berries. It's also great for berries that you plan on using in smoothies. Clean the strawberries the same as for the whole berries, removing the stem and tops. Then slice or quarter the berries into a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of sugar for each quart of strawberries you have in the bowl. If your berries are already very sweet you may want to use only about 1/3 cup sugar per quart of berries. Gently stir the sugar into the sliced strawberries. Bag the sugared berries in plastic freezer bags immediately, laying the bags flat on a cookie tray. Gently press out any excess air  form the bags. Place in the freezer. The sugar will begin to draw the juice out of the strawberries, so you want to get them in the freezer fairly quickly.

There are a couple of other freezing methods for strawberries, but these are the two that we use and have found to be the most successful for our needs.
Freezing strawberries is so easy, you have no excuse not to have your own stash of frozen berries!

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