Are you a strawberry lover looking for ways to have this delicious fruit even in the off-season?
Well, who doesn’t love strawberries? Unfortunately, they come for a concise duration in the spring. People wait the entire winter and look forward to having strawberries in the spring. There is nothing compared to the taste of fresh strawberries, but since they grow for a short time, there are ways to freeze and store them so foodies can enjoy consuming them in different ways.
You might have seen strawberries getting soft and moldy. Yes, that’s because this fruit has a short shelf life even when stored in the refrigerator. They will go bad after 3 to 4 days, so freezing is the only way to enjoy this fruit after the spring is gone. There is a proper way of freezing them; it is not just like packing them in a bag or throwing them in the freezer. It will result in an icy cluster of berries. The frozen strawberries might not taste the same as the fresh ones once thawed, but they retain flavor and texture and can be used in several ways.
A lot of people wonder how long they can freeze strawberries without them going bad. The answer lies in accordance with FDA, as it says: strawberries can be frozen for up to 1 year.
In this article, you will find some great tips for freezing strawberries, ways to defrost them, how to use frozen strawberries and much more. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
How to Freeze Strawberries?
Strawberries might not freeze at their best as they lose shape and texture once defrosted. It is because they contain water upon freezing, thus rotting their shape and structure. But there is no way to store strawberries other than to freeze them. The most common way to freeze this tasty fruit is the flash-freezing method. However, people go for other ways too, that adds the use of sugar or syrup.
Flash Freezing Method
Follow the subsequent steps to store and freeze the strawberries correctly.
Step 1: Washing the Strawberries
The first and most important step is washing the strawberries before you freeze them. Wash them thoroughly and ensure you do not keep the already mushy strawberries, as these will not freeze well. Wash them under cold running water but be careful about the water pressure as this fruit is quite delicate, and a high-water pressure can ruin them. Do not soak them in water; it can dilute their sweet flavor.
Step 2: Drying the Berries
Once the strawberries are clean, you must dry them properly. Use a paper towel to dry them. Spread them on the towel and let them air dry as well. This step is essential as wet strawberries get squishy, and no one likes watery strawberries.
Step 3: Hulling them
Once the strawberries are dehydrated, cut around the stem in a circular motion to remove the green stops and white center. You can use a huller or a parking knife for this purpose. You can leave them whole or cut them in halves or quarters; it depends on you. Generally, larger berries are hard to cut and break down in the blender.
Step 4: Freezing the Strawberries Individually
The strawberries are now ready to be frozen. Spread them out on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Arrange them in a single layer in such a way that they do not touch each other. If you have more strawberries, then use multiple baking sheets. Please put them in your freezer for 2 to 3 hours until they harden completely. This step will keep the strawberries loose and make the thawing process easier.
Step 5: Storing the Frozen Strawberries
Once the strawberries are frozen and solid, they can be stored together. Take a resealable freezer bag and place the frozen strawberries in them and seal the bag. Once the strawberries are tightly packed in the bag, they can be stored in the freezer for a long time.
How Long can you Freeze Strawberries?
According to the FDA and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, you can freeze and store the strawberries for up to 1 year. But for this, you must freeze them correctly, as described above. If they are not stored properly, they might not last that long. Using them within six months is advised to get the best flavor. There are different ways helping you freeze strawberries to fetch most nutrients out of it. These are:
Freezing Strawberries with Sugar
Some people like their strawberries to be extra sweet. In that case, you might want to sweeten the berries by adding sugar to them before freezing. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar on the strawberries and cover them. Leave them like this for 15 minutes and freeze them as directed above.
Freezing Strawberries in Syrup
There is another way to prepare your strawberries for freezing them. This method involves covering the strawberries with syrup. The type of syrup you use depends entirely on you. There are plenty of canning syrup recipes on the internet that you can use. Cover the strawberries with the syrup but make sure you leave some room for the expansion. Label the jars in which you store and freeze them.
Best Way to Freeze Strawberries
The answer to this is hidden in what you plan to do with the strawberries. If you plan on eating them as it is, then freeze them. But if you plan to use them in a smoothie, milkshake, or some other dessert, it is better to slice them before freezing, as cutting them after they are frozen can be difficult.
Suitable Temperature to Freeze and Store Strawberries
The optimum temperature and humidity conditions must always be met to store the strawberries effectively. The ideal temperature for freezing strawberries is 32 to 36 ℉ (0 to 2℃), and the optimum humidity level for fresh strawberries is 90% to 95%.
Frozen Strawberries Uses
Frozen strawberries are less fresh than those hand-picked during the spring season. But still, there are several ways in which frozen strawberries can be used. Frozen strawberries lose their shape, but they can be used in different recipes by cooking or baking them. Some of the delightful dishes that are made from frozen strawberries are:
- Strawberry Margarita
- Strawberry- rhubarb Crumble Pie
- Strawberry Sauce
How to Defrost or Thaw the Frozen Strawberries?
Depending on when you need them, there are different ways to thaw the strawberries. For example, if you need them immediately after taking them out of the freezer, the best way to thaw them is to place them in the microwave. Select the defrost option on your microwave and set the time to 1 minute. By this method, they release a liquid that can become very juicy.
If you need them a bit later after taking them out of the freezer, place them in a single layer and keep them at room temperature. Or you can fill a bowl with cold water and place the bag of strawberries in the water and let them thaw.
If you need them the next day, the best way is to put them in the refrigerator and let them thaw overnight. They will keep their firmness if you defrost them gradually and overnight.
Do Strawberries Lose their Nutrients when Frozen?
The answer is no; strawberries do not lose their macro and micronutrients when frozen. Freezing them might even help to preserve some water-soluble vitamins and minerals that add to the overall nutritional value of strawberries. As long as no sugar is added to the fruits, frozen fruits are almost as healthy as fresh fruits.
Should Strawberries Be Washed Before Freezing?
It is necessary to wash the strawberries before freezing them, as they can have bacteria or other parasites. Strawberries get these germs from shipping or packing, or even if they are grown on a farm and hand-picked, they still contain pesticides on them. So, washing them properly before eating or freezing them is better.
Strawberries are a delicate fruit that can go bad or turn moldy after a few days, even in the refrigerator. But the good news is that they can be frozen for up to 1 year, and you can enjoy them even in the winter. It must be noted that the strawberries will last for this long only when they are stored and appropriately frozen, as described in the article above. Frozen strawberries can be defrosted quickly in different ways depending on when you need to use them. You can easily make smoothies, milkshakes, pies, jams, and other desserts out of it. Freeze the strawberries in the right way and enjoy them all year long.
Meet me; I am Paulina Zaniewska, who’s more hooked on providing the best health blog. I’ve always been so determined to compete as a nutritionist, and here I am, done with a Master’s in food technology. My brilliant performance throughout encouraged me to help people.