Are you like me and buy a couple of packs of strawberries every week at the grocery store, thinking you're going to eat them all before they go bad? We love strawberries and do snack on most of them. But somehow there are always a few stragglers left in the bottom of the fridge that have turned into mush. What's a girl to do with gross strawberries? I've found the solution – freeze them! Frozen strawberries last for months in your freezer, so you can avoid wasting any delicious berries. Here's how to freeze them!
How to Freeze Strawberries:
First, find some good quality freezer containers. If you're a frugal person, chances are you probably save those disposable containers from meat and other grocery items. Those may work, but ideally you need some nicer quality, sealing containers to avoid freezer burn! Find them on Amazon or Walmart and invest in a good set for your frozen fruit.
Next, go through your strawberries and take out any damaged fruit. With fresh strawberries, there are always a few bruised or mushy ones at the bottom. Avoid freezing these, as they may not taste great after being frozen. The best way to freeze is to take good quality berries at the height of their ripeness. During strawberry season, freezing fruit that is freshly picked is best.
Remove any green stems and give them a good rinse in cold water. You can use a strawberry huller to remove the centers if you prefer. If you have health concerns or young children, washing your fruit in a mixture of vinegar and water is also a good idea. We try to buy organic and rinse our
Finally, arrange them in a single layer on a paper towel, clean dish towel, or baking sheet. Allow them to thoroughly dry. If you freeze wet strawberries you may also get some freezer burn. You can freeze whole strawberries, or section them into bite sized pieces before freezing. Either will work. I prefer to use them in smoothies so I usually want chunks of frozen berries. Meaning, I leave the smaller ones in one piece and slice the larger fresh berries. This is a great way to have frozen fruit prepped for snacking, or adding to recipes and smoothies!
You will then add your ripe strawberries to your airtight container. Label with the date and freeze! That's it! You can layer them on top of each other, or if you prefer you can separate layers with a small amount of parchment paper in between. Keep in mind strawberries have a lot of natural sugar, so unless you are making a strawberry sauce, you should not have to add any additional flavoring or sugar to freeze.
How Can You Tell if Frozen Strawberries Are Bad:
Frozen strawberries that have turned bad may have:
- Ice crystals or freezer burn
- Dry spots
- Texture has changed- berries should be fairly firm after being frozen.
- Slimy film
- Discoloration- frozen strawberries should maintain much of their beautiful red color.
Can Old Strawberries Make You sick:
Old fruit can be slimy, mushy, or just have changed from its original firm texture. Fruit naturally produces gases that rot the fruit over time. This is a chemical change and cannot be reversed — you might remember this from elementary school science! While the ripening process itself may not make you sick, it creates a great atmosphere for mold and bacteria. It's never a good idea to eat rotten fruit! Canning and preserving old fruit is especially dangerous since if there is any mold or gasses being produced, they can increase over time. We've all heard of those exploding jars of rotten fruit– from improper canning and preservation methods, or trying to preserve fruit that was past its prime. Effective methods of food preserving are to use fresh fruit, and always freeze or can them properly!
How Long do Frozen Strawberries Last:
If you are freezing strawberries, you may be wondering about their shelf life. Depending on how well they were frozen and what they were frozen in (whether plastic freezer bags or a container) your strawberries may last up to 12 months. However, it's important to check the actual berries themselves for best results. If you are looking in the freezer at a later date and have no idea what time of year — or even last year– you put them in the freezer, chances are they need to be thrown out. They can last a long time but will be prone to freezer burn the longer they are in there.
How to Thaw Frozen Strawberries:
Thawing is not completely necessary, especially if you are adding them to a frozen smoothie. The freezing process will actually save you some time and add the best flavor. A wonderful way to make smoothies is to skip the ice and just use super cold or frozen ingredients! We love a good strawberry smoothie around here, and the colder the better! However, for snacking the strawberries need to be thawed. Here are a few ways to thaw them- depending on how much time you have.
- In the fridge- you can place your strawberries on a plate or small baking tray in a single layer and thaw in the fridge. I like to place a few paper towels underneath them to absorb any extra moisture. Thawing in the fridge is one of my favorite ways to use preserved food!
- Use a cold water bath- if you have to add your strawberries to a recipe but only have a couple hours, you can fill a bowl with cool water and set the strawberries in the water. You can also put them in a sandwich bag and place the bag in water to thaw them. This works best with small batches since thawing a large amount would take a long time.
- Thaw in the microwave- I definitely don't recommend this method. The microwave may make them mushy and undesirable! However, if you are adding the berries to a recipe or making strawberry jam or ice cream toppings, this could work. Be sure not to overheat since the microwave will thaw them unevenly. Another option is to heat on the stove in a little bit of water, at low heat.
Recipes for Frozen Strawberries:
Whether you have extra strawberries from a nice grocery deal, a farmers market haul, or you are using your own strawberries, you can use frozen strawberries in many different recipes. Here are some great ways to use them up and also enjoy some delicious treats!
- Jello Salad Recipe: Michelle’s Pretzel Salad
- Strawberry Crumble Bars with Bananas
- Instant Pot Strawberry Jelly
We hope this post discussing how long do frozen strawberries last was helpful! Be sure to check out more gardening and recipe content from Consumer Queen!
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