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overhead shot of freshly frozen strawberries

How To Freeze Strawberries

Freezing fresh strawberries is one of the easiest ways you can preserve or save your own homegrown strawberries, or preserve excess berries purchased at a farmers market or u-pick.

With a short growing season, fresh strawberries are really only available for two-three weeks out of the year. After that, the fruit you find in grocery stores has either been shipped a long way or was greenhouse grown. Not ideal for flavour.

By freezing fresh strawberries at the height of the season, you can enjoy this delicious little fruit all year round.

fresh PEI strawberries in cardboard pints

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In order to retain as much of the fresh quality of the strawberries as possible and not end up with one large frozen clump in a bag, there are a few things you should do before freezing your strawberries.

Choose the best strawberries for freezing

When freezing strawberries, it is best to pick fruit that is fully mature, bright red and firm. This ensures you get the most flavor and nutrition out of the berries after freezing.

Avoid berries that are under-ripe with white or green sections, as well as berries that are overly ripe and soft.

Cleaning & hulling the strawberries.

Before freezing the strawberries, you’ll want to make sure they are clean and have been washed and hulled (green tops removed). Washing the berries removes any dirt or tiny insects that may be clinging or hiding amongst the fruit.

washing strawberries in a mesh sieve under running water

Rinse the whole strawberries (with green tops still attached, in clean water before draining them in a colander or sieve. Then spread the fruit on a clean linen cloth and lightly pat them dry.

drying fresh strawberries on a clean dish towel

Avoid letting the fruit sit in water to prevent them from becoming mushy and flavorless when thawed.

Once the berries have been washed and dried remove the leaves by picking them off with your fingers or removing them with a small paring knife. The waste leaves make a great addition to your backyard compost pile!

hulling strawberries by removing the green tops

At this point, you’ll need to decide whether you want to freeze the strawberries whole, sliced, quartered, or crushed. Cut the berries into whichever size you prefer. You could even freeze small batches of each!

Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) Strawberries

After the berries have been cleaned and washed, it’s time to freeze them. Using the IQF method will give you the best end result. IQF is the acronym for ‘Individually Quick Frozen’ and refers to the fact that the berries are all frozen as individual pieces as quickly as possible to preserve freshness.

freezing strawberries

In commercial settings this is done with a blast freezer, but you can achieve the same result with the following steps below:

  1. Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
  2. Spread the prepared strawberries on the sheet pan in one layer, making sure none of the berries touch. If freezing large batches you may need multiple sheet pans or trays.
  3. Place the strawberry filled pans directly in the freezer. Let the strawberries freeze solid for about 2-3 hours.
  4. Remove the tray from the freezer and loosen the frozen strawberries. Store the frozen berries in a Ziploc bag or other freezer-proof container.

How long will frozen strawberries keep?

When properly stored, frozen strawberries will easily keep for up to one year. That is if you don’t eat them all before that!

Related:  Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

If possible store the frozen berries in a chest or stand up freezer. These generally stay colder and will keep things frozen longer with less freezer burn then a freezer compartment above or below a fridge will.

overhead shot of freshly frozen strawberries

Pro Tip: when freezing anything in a Ziploc bag, use a straw to suck out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. This will remove excess air and moisture preventing freezer burn.

Defrosting & Using Frozen Strawberries

To use the frozen strawberries you have several options:

  • You can use them right from frozen, for example when making smoothies, some desserts or baked goods.
  • You can defrost the berries at room temperature to have them thawed in an hour or so. Or thaw them in the fridge, though they will take longer to defrost.

Note: defrosting or thawing frozen strawberries will cause some of their juices to leak out, and result in softer berries then if they were fresh. This is a natural result of the moisture inside the berries freezing and bursting cell wall as they expand. When thawed, this moisture leaches out.

Recipes you could use frozen strawberries in

Frozen strawberries are best used in recipes that call for them frozen, or where they will be baked or cooked. Fruit crumbles, muffins, scones, and jams are excellent examples.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
A classic dessert best enjoyed in early summer this family favourite strawberry rhubarb crumble is hands down the easiest dessert you will ever make.
Save This Recipe For Later
a portion of strawberry rhubarb crumble topped with vanilla icecream

They can also be used in frozen drink recipes, such as milkshakes and smoothies.

Creamy Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie
A refreshing fruit smoothie, this strawberry watermelon smoothie mixed with banana, greek yogurt, and chia, is full of healthy goodies.
Save This Recipe For Later
A glass of creamy strawberry banana smoothie on a wooden board

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How To Freeze Strawberries

Learn how to properly freeze fresh strawberries to preserve a little taste of summer for year-round use!
Course Basic Skill
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword How do you prepare strawberries for freezing?, How long do strawberries last in the freezer?, Should strawberries be washed before freezing?
Prep Time 10 minutes
Freezing Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 pints
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Tools Needed

  • Paring Knife
  • Sheet pan
  • A clean dishtowel
  • Non-stick parchment paper
  • A freezer
  • Large ziploc bags

Materials Needed

  • 4 pints freshly picked strawberries

Instructions

  • Rinse the freshly picked strawberries under clean running water to remove any insects or dirt.
    washing strawberries in a mesh sieve under running water
  • Dry the strawberries by spreading them out on a clean, dry dishtowel. Gently pat the strawberries dry.
    drying fresh strawberries on a clean dish towel
  • Hull the strawberries by removing the tops of the strawberries, being careful not to waste to much of the fruit. If slicing the strawberries do so now.
    hulling strawberries by removing the green tops
  • Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with non-stick parchment paper. Spread the prepared strawberries on the sheet pan in one layer, making sure none of the berries touch. If freezing large batches you may need multiple sheet pans or trays.
    spreading
  • Place the strawberry filled pans directly in the freezer. Let the strawberries freeze solid for about 2-3 hours.
    freezing strawberries on a tray in the freezer
  • Remove the tray from the freezer and loosen the frozen strawberries. Store the frozen berries in a Ziploc bag or other freezer-proof container.
    overhead shot of freshly frozen strawberries

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