It seems that one of the unwritten rules of strawberry picking is to pick far more than you could ever use at that moment. Strawberries are bursting with flavor, and are great for jams, jellies, sauces, desserts, smoothies, or all alone. Luckily, they stand up well to freezing, as long as you prepare them correctly and keep them safe while in the freezer.
Prepping for the Freezer
If you want your fresh strawberries to become quality frozen strawberries, then it is important to prepare them correctly. Like other fruits, they must be washed before you eat them and before you freeze them. However, don't wash them until just before you're about to freeze them because the added moisture will make them go bad sooner. To wash your strawberries, run them under cool water through a strainer and them gently pat them dry with paper towel. This process should remove any dirt and debris.
Before you pack your washed strawberries away in the freezer for later use, consider adding an extra step to make things easier for you in the future. Lay out a section of wax paper on a standard cookie sheet, then lay your strawberries on the paper in a single layer. Put the cookie sheet into the freezer and freeze them this way, so they won't stick together when you pack them into containers. This method will make it easier to remove what you want when the time comes. Store the frozen strawberries in glass containers designed for canning and freezing, rigid plastic containers with firm-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags.
Freezing Other Forms
Popping whole strawberries into the freezer may be the common way to do it, but you can freeze other forms of strawberry, as well. You still have to wash the berries the same way just before you plan to freeze them, but you can freeze sliced or crushed strawberries, strawberry puree and strawberry juice. Slice the caps off your strawberries before taking these steps, and add sugar if you want a sweeter product.
One Wash Is Enough
When you finally decide to remove the strawberries from the freezer and use them, it isn't necessary to wash them a second time. The first wash did what you wanted it to do, and storing them securely in the freezer kept them safe. Frozen strawberries can be used for smoothies, jams, and fillings for many different desserts. They should maintain their quality in the freezer for eight to 12 months, according to the University of California.
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