Last updated on July 4th, 2020
Hip, hip hooray– strawberry season has arrived in New York’s Hudson Valley. I picked up 7 1/2 pounds of perfectly ripe, locally grown berries the other day, and promptly set about freezing them. The following preservation technique has never failed me:
How to Freeze Strawberries: The Video
Click the “play” arrow above to watch the video. You’ll hear some pleasant birdsong in the video, as I filmed it in my herb garden. If you can’t watch videos (or me!), then simply read on for the photographic directions.
First, grab some perfectly ripe, locally-grown strawberries. Berries that have traveled 3,000 miles in a refrigerated truck are not worth freezing. Long distance berries are flavorless berries.
With a dorky smile on your face, plunge the berries into a clean tub of cold water. Swish the berries around with your (immaculately-clean) hands, and then let them sit for a minute or five. During this time, any dirt on the berries will sink to the bottom.
A handful at a time, fish out the berries and arrange them in a single layer on a clean terry towel. (Hint: use a big bath towel if you are working with a big batch o’ berries.)
Gently blot the berries to dry them.
Then “hull” the berries. That is, use a paring knife (or a special hulling gadget) to cut around and remove the stem. This job will be slightly less odious if performed in the early evening, when birds are singing and crickets are chirping. Well, you’ll have to watch the video up top.
To freeze whole strawberries, just arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. When solidly frozen, transfer to tubs or zip-lock bags, and freeze. Otherwise, slice the berries just as I did here, and place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Not enough room in your freezer for multiple baking sheets? I have a tip for you! Place another sheet of parchment on top of the first layer of berries. Arrange more sliced berries on this second sheet.
For the video howto, I arranged three layers of berries on a single baking sheet.
And then, when the camera was turned off, I added two more layers of berries! Once the berries were solidly frozen (I left them to freeze overnight), I proudly displayed all five layers.
Grab one sheet of frozen berries, and bang it down a few times to loosen the frozen fruit. Then use the sheet as a funnel to neatly deposit the berries into a bag or tub. Bang and bag the remaining berries.
Oh. To avoid bumpy penmanship, label the bags before you fill them. If your freezer resembles an arctic garage sale, then by all means include the year you bagged the fruit. Frozen berries will remain delicious for at least 9 months. Just don’t let the berries thaw and refreeze, or they will turn mushy.
There are myriad ways to use frozen strawberries. Here are just a few suggestions:
Strawberry Jam Twist Bread (click here for the recipe). I always fill the cracks and crevices of this too-delicious dessert with frozen, sliced strawberries.
Strawberry Soufflé (click here for the recipe). This puffed-up, gluten-free magic is very easy to make — especially if you have strawberries in your freezer!
Strawberry Turnovers (click here for recipe). For these easy-peasy puff pastry treats, feel free to substitute frozen berries for fresh.
Well. I hope you’ll get yourself some local strawberries this month, and freeze at least some of them for winter. This way, you can enjoy the taste of June in January and February!
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I have three stand alone freezers! (and a small one attached to my fridge) I don’t know how anyone can live without freezers- especially you, Kevin! . I use one for storing flour, nuts, grains, spices, seasonings, pesto, etc. You could store all of that flour you just bought from the Amish co-op and it will last forever. The other two I use for my garden produce, proteins, soups, etc. I have two upright and one chest freezer. I have to admit, I love the uprights better because you don’t have to dig to the bottom to figure out was is down there. BTW, I would just lop off the tops of those strawberries! It’s not worth all of that to save a smidgen.
…..and chickens too!!!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Linda – I’m jealous!
Betty Martinez says
Finally made your Italian Bread. Have made bread for many years but this recipe was a sure
keeper. Not only was the dough a beauty but so was the loaf of bread and delicious. Will make
this time and time again.
Hi Kevin. Watching your great video thank u. Try using a straw to push out the stem so easy and does a clean job
Nancy P Adams says
Hi Ken – these frozen strawberries look great, but I still prefer to freeze your roasted strawberries. I just make up a couple of big batches of your oven-roasted strawberries, put them into jelly or pint size canning jars, and once cool, freeze them. I use them all winter almost like jam or in baked goods, on ice cream and for atop Belgian waffles. Yum!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Betty – I’m so glad!
Hi Chris – A straw? Must try!
Hi Nancy – Great to know the roasted strawberries freeze well. Of course now I want them on all the things you mentioned, including Belgian waffles!
Donna Martell says
Good Morning, Kevin! You are such a crack-up! I’m not an experienced cook, and more of an experimental gardener than an experienced one (things seem to live or die for no reason), but I love your videos! You provide process and order in the middle of chaos, and it’s so soothing. You’re like a Mr. Rogers for grownups.
The sanding sound came across like a ship horn, adding a bit of the exotic to the strawberries and birdsong, lol! Keep safe and healthy!
When thawing frozen fruits how do you prevent them from getting soggy?
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Donna – What a nice comment to read this morning. Thank you for watching the video!
I have one stand alone freezer and two small “above the frig” freezers, but alas no chickens 🙁 Without chickens, my composter comes to the rescue 🙂
I grow raspberries and freeze some whole exactly as you freeze the strawberries. Also freeze berries for jam by mashing the berries, measure out the exact mashed amount for one receipe for jam, and squeeze out the air which also flattens the freezer bag (takes up minimal space when flattened).
I freeze greens the same way. Blanch, fill bags, flatten for space saving and quick defrosting.
When they become available, you will LOVE a stand alone upright freezer Kevin!
Linda Bingham says
Hi Kevin, the strawberries look delicious. This is the best time of the year with all the fresh fruit coming on. I have two stand-alone freezers & fill them with the garden harvest each year. I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned in the comments above but have you ever heard of a strawberry huller? The link below is the one I use, but as I searched for this link I see there seems to be newer versions that might be worth looking into.
I find this tool to be much easier than cutting the stems off with a knife.
Linda h says
If you have a grapefruit spoon they are perfect for hulling the berries. Put the serrated tip of the spoon in the berry and twist. Easily removes the green and that little hard white stuff in the top of berry
Pat C says
I love your blog (is that what it is? Or website?), especially your videos. Very informative and also entertaining. Well, I have a free standing upright freezer. I wish I had an additional refrigerator. I have a nice large eat in kitchen but the only place for the refrigerator isn’t very large so whenever I’ve had to replace the refrigerator, I have to get whatever size fits in the space, not the size I’d really like to have and need. My daughter in law would call this “a first world problem “. She’s correct and we do know how blessed we are in this part of the world. (But I’d still love to have a big, gorgeous refrigerator with all the bells and whistles).
Kevin, great video, thanks ! I use an old silver grapefruit spoon to hull the berries – it’s very pointed and sharp, and a quick zip around the stem works well.
Laura Meister says
A chef friend gave me a “mater gator” or tomato corer several years ago and it’s my favorite summer kitchen tool. But I only use it on strawberries and it will save you SO much time and keep 90% of the berries in tact while removing berry cores. It looks like a small melon baller with teeth. Best tool ever!
Patricia Mersman says
I too have a strawberry huller, vintage from the 1950s I think. But now will try the grapefruit spoon technique. As for SUGAR: Do you ever sugar the berries, just a teensy bit before you freeze them? I don’t but I have a hunch it might keep them from going limp as soon as they thaw out.
Mary Jouver says
In our home we have 3 refrigerators and one freezer….and they are always full!
Sandy Martinez says
Loved the strawberry tutorial. I just last week did the same thing. A whole flat. I made strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, mashed some with blackberries and a little sugar for topping on you name it and still froze some for my Strawberry Squirrel! ( My 7 year old daughter-she can eat her weight in frozen strawberries!) I love how you did the “work” outside…I’m going to do it outside next time, thanks!
Now regarding freezers…if you go with a freezer that does NOT self defrost, your food will last much longer and taste better. (and use less electricity) The reason is that self-defrosting freezers, usually upright, will defrost your food a little as well as defrosting the ice build-up in the freezer. The defrosting happens every so often, it’s on a timer. This leaves the food freezer- burned and that tastes terrible!
Anyways, that’s my 2 cents worth of freezer info! LOL!
Take care Kevin and God bless you!
Have you lost weight? You look great!
Don’t you just love parchment paper?!
Good morning, Kevin,
I have 1 stand alone chest freezer for security sake. About 3 years ago, in July, the compressor on my refrigerator/freezer quit. I live in very small town Alberta so service is spotty. It is a KitchenAid and was still under warranty. The service department could not find a repair man. So I started shopping for a new one (all my frozen food went into neighbors freezers, non perishables went down to the basement in coolers, and my son brought out a barely used bar fridge). Could NOT find a model that would fit the space. Was willing to compromise but still could not find one, any brand. But KitchenAid’s fantastic service department persisted and found a technician about an hours drive from me. Absolutely the nicest, most considerate man to work with. And one of the few anywhere who could repair a compressor. A lost skill, I guess. Fridge has worked fine since. But a lesson learned. Be able to freeze a block of ice as only bags of ice cubes are available locally. And they melt fast! My freezer is small as I live alone. But a life saver for me.
And best of all, KitchenAid didn’t charge me a penny.
Chickens and 2 stand alone freezers. I always learn something from your videos. Wish I grew enough strawberries to have some to freeze but they all get eaten fresh. That is the way I freeze all my berries except I don’t bother to wash my blueberries or raspberries that I grow nor the huckleberries I pick from the wilds. We fill the freezers with foods we grow or hunt, or source locally, vegetables, blackberries, cherries, huckleberries, raspberries, apples, plums, chicken, salmon, venison, and elk. I used to raise rabbits but not at this time. We do like to have food ready and feel fortunate to have it.
Judy Hines says
Oh how wonderful! Years ago Ed and I had a huge strawberry patch and we went crazy picking and eating the berries and when we did freeze them, we washed and dried the whole berries and they went into plastic freezer bags. Now they did stick to each other, and when we thawed them they were kind of mushy, but still delicious.
Yes we have a stand alone GE freezer — freeze fresh blue berries, peas a friend gives us, and corn which Ed cuts down. Not so much strawberries anymore – the ones at the store are huge and delicious – have no local place to get them. We used to grow rhubarb as well, but not anymore.
Judy from Illinois where the sky is like a water color painting.
Thanks Kevin! To freeze blueberries, I am assuming the same process?
Thank you for the helpful ‘how to freeze strawberries’ demonstration. Hopefully your strawberries were organic. Strawberries every year top the
‘dirty dozen’ for the most pesticides & herbicides used of any fruit or vegetable.
Marcy MacDonald says
My strawberries when defrosted are so mushy, I cannot use them for anything. Could you please give us some recipes where we could use them.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Marcy – You’ll find three recipes for frozen/thawed strawberries at the end of this post (scroll up to see them).
Thank you, Kevin.
Happy June Kevin!
Thank you for your cheerful & informative emails! I always enjoy them. You asked who has a stand alone freezer. I have one in my garage & I LOVE it! It doesn’t defrost slightly on & off like regular fridge-freezer combos. We got it cheap at a Scratch & Dent sale from an appliance store. I Googled Valatie for Scratch & Dent sales & got a few hits not terribly far from you! Being such a great Foodie, I hope you’ll have some luck in finding one. Best wishes always, marsha ♥️
I just picked local strawberries today, they are delicious and i am going to freeze them. Thanks for the info. I was wondering whats the best way to defrost them without going mushy.
Amanda Benick says
You’re wonderful and I like your sense of humor. I hope I need these directions this summer. I have a new strawberry patch planted last year and I am hoping this is the year we have lots of berries!