We hate to play favorites, but strawberries are kind of the best. Their firm flesh and snappy sweetness make these summer berries so tantalizing, we always end up hauling home a ridiculous quantity from the store and then scrambling to eat them before they spoil. Yep, strawberry fever can make you go a little crazy in the produce section but fortunately, we have the antidote. Next time you take home too much of a good thing, follow these steps for how to freeze strawberries and you’ll be feasting on your favorite fruit for months to come.
How to Freeze Strawberries so Summer Can Last Forever
1. Wash the strawberries
Use a mesh strainer or colander to wash the berries under cold, running water. Have you ever noticed how a soggy strawberry will stain a plate or storage container? That’s precious flavor fading and a good reason why you should give your berries a shower, not a bath.
2. Prep the strawberries
Once rinsed, start trimming off the green tops of the berries with a paring knife. Since preservation is the goal here, try this waste-free hulling technique: Position your paring knife at a slight upward angle, and cut in a circular motion to remove the caps. (Or you could opt for a simple cut straight down the top of the fruit if you don’t mind sacrificing a little strawberry.)
3. Dry the strawberries
Discard the green tops and line a baking sheet with a paper towel. Transfer the hulled strawberries to the prepared pan and lay another piece of paper towel on top of the berries, using it to gently pat them dry.
4. Slice the strawberries
Return your dry fruits to the cutting board and slice them up. If you foresee a lot of smoothies in your future, cut those strawberries into smaller pieces now so you don’t damage your blender with big frozen chunks down the road. But if you plan to use the frozen berries in baked goods, cut them in slices or whatever presentation you prefer for pies and tarts. You can also keep your options open by keeping the strawberries whole—just bear in mind that while many recipes don’t require thawing, you might need to do so anyway for easier slicing.
5. Freeze the strawberries and store
Remove the paper towels from the pan and spread the berries out in a single layer. Tuck the tray of strawberries into the freezer and chill for one to four hours. When the strawberries have frozen solid, remove them from the freezer and store in airtight plastic bags, pressing out any excess air before sealing. Stick them in the back (not the door) of your freezer so they remain thoroughly frozen. Your ice-cold berries will stay recipe-ready for the next six months. (Note: It’s wise to portion out the strawberries in separate bags, labeling each with the quantity. That way you can make the most of your frozen fruit by pulling only what you need for any given recipe.)
How to Use Frozen Strawberries
Frozen strawberries retain both their flavor and nutrients, but they’re not going to emerge from the freezer totally flawless. When it’s time to use them up, they’ll be a little too soft for snacking and sadly, nothing can preserve that punchy shade of red. But don’t let that deter you. Frozen strawberries lend plenty of tart and sweet taste to a myriad of recipes, so you can still serve up something that makes the palate sing. Here’s a little inspiration (and a few favorite recipes) to help you cook, bake and blend your way to frozen strawberry bliss.
- Frozen strawberries are ideal in daiquiris, margaritas, milkshakes and smoothies—just add the chilled fruit straight into the blender and enjoy. We’re fans of this packable, portable breakfast smoothie that’s chock-full of antioxidants, probiotics and calcium. Oh, and it doesn’t look so bad either.
- Take your summer fruit out of storage and mix it with herbs and spices to make this chilled spicy strawberry soup for a savory surprise so good, you’ll want a second bowlful.
- Of course, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to use the bagful of berries in your freezer. Frozen strawberries find a happy home in cobblers, pies, crumbles and jams. Simply take them out of the freezer and toss with sugar and seasonings, according to your recipe (there’s no need to wait until they've thawed). Continue to bake per instructions.
- For cakes, fold frozen strawberries into the batter according to the recipe (or layer them on the bottom first, like in this decadent strawberry upside-down cake.) Bonus: Even the freshest strawberries take on a deep hue when baked, so no one will suspect you used frozen berries to create your sumptuous treat.