Fresh strawberries are in season for only a few weeks every year. While I usually eat as many strawberries as I can when they are in season, it’s great to have them at other times of the year too. Can you freeze strawberries? Fresh strawberries in grocery freezers is a common sight so the answer to the question “can you freeze strawberries?” is a definite yes.
The most important thing you need to know, and you already know it if you’ve ever bought frozen strawberries, is that freezing changes the texture of this fruit. The strawberries after defrosting are somewhat mushy, so they work much better in recipes as opposed to eating the fruit on its own. In other words, if you want to just eat strawberries, enjoy them when in season. But if a smoothie or a baking project is what you have in mind, then, by all means, go with frozen and thawed berries.
Having said that, let’s go through ways of freezing and defrosting strawberries.
How to Freeze Whole Strawberries?
This is the most popular method of freezing strawberries. You will end up with similar results to what you get when you buy frozen strawberries.
- Prep. Wash the strawberries thoroughly and remove the hulls. Basically, prepare the strawberries the same way you would if you were preparing them for eating.
- Pat them dry. I usually leave the berries on dish towels covered with paper towels for half an hour. Wet strawberries will leave red stains, so make sure that they lay on layer or two of paper towels, not directly on the dish towels. After about half an hour, pat the strawberries dry with paper towels. Essentially, you want to get rid of as much moisture as you can prior to freezing.
- (Recommended) Prefreezing. Transfer the berries onto a cookie sheet and lay them in a single layer in a way they don’t touch one another. Put the sheet into the freezer and leave it there until the strawberries are frozen solid (an hour should do).
- Transfer the strawberries into freezer bags. Remove as much air from the bags as possible. Label the bags if needed.
- Throw the freezer bags into the freezer.
The pre-freezing process makes it a bit difficult to freeze a big batch, as there’s usually not that much space in the freezer where you can put the cookie sheet. But it’s totally worth it because the berries won’t freeze in a clump. Also, you will be able to scoop as many strawberries as you need at a time this way. If you will skip pre-freezing, the strawberries will freeze in a clump and you have to thaw the whole bag.
How to Defrost Frozen Strawberries?
- In the fridge. Transfer the frozen strawberries from the freezer into the fridge. After a few hours the berries will be defrosted and ready to use. The easiest way to make sure they are defrosted when needed is to thaw them overnight, i.e. put into the fridge the night before they are needed.
- In a cold bath. Prepare a pot of cold water and throw the freezer bag into the pot. This method will thaw the strawberries faster than at room temperature.
- At room temperature. This method is not recommended because room temperature is the best temperature for the bacteria to grow. Nevertheless, if you’re going to use all the strawberries you defrost right away (i.e. after an hour or two after taking them out of the freezer), this method should do. I do it all the time and never had any issues, but maybe that’s just pure luck.