Freezing strawberries is one of the ways you can preserve fresh berries to keep that delicious, sweet taste. The texture will be soft, not firm like fresh berries. From there, you can defrost them and enjoy them plain, bake them in a pie, use them on shortcake, or make jelly and jam.
David and I have moved to a farm in Rossville, Texas, just outside of Poteet, the Strawberry Capital of Texas. The farms around here grow large, delicious berries that thousands of people come here for, especially during the first weekend in April every year for the Poteet Strawberry Festival.
David has made friends with a local farmer. We went over to his farm the other day and bought a flat of fresh strawberries on February 3. They are the sweetest berries we have ever had and they came from Garcia Farms in Poteet.
You should learn how to freeze strawberries if you plant a lot of
berry plants. Freezing berries is best if you harvest too many at once
as they will keep just a few days in the fridge. After a few days, they
start getting soft and moldy.
My grandmother, Elvina Yorgensen, used to freeze cherries and strawberries in the summer and I would help her back in Poughkeepsie, New York. They will keep in the freezer for a good six months. Make sure that you freeze your berries on the same day or the day after you pick them or they will lose their freshness and flavor. This same process is good for raspberries and blackberries as well. If you freeze cherries, you will need to cut them open and remove the pits first.
First, you need a nice flat of strawberries. Actually, you can start smaller with a few pints or some berries you just picked from your garden if that is what you have. Wash them under cold water to remove all of the sandy soil. Let them drain or place them on some paper towels. Get a small bowl for the green caps that you will cut off. Get a larger bowl for the berries you will freeze.
You will also need some sugar and freezer bags. I use the quart size bags for berries.
Use a paring knife to remove the green caps (leaves). Then I cut the large berries in half longways and then slice them across into bite-sized pieces. If the berries are smaller, you can leave them whole or slice across into the size you want. Put the pieces in the larger bowl.
Once you are finished cutting the berries, clean up and then add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of sugar to the bowl. Stir and then place enough berries into each freezer bag so that you can feed your family or make a pie, etc.
If you use a good, name-brand freezer bag, there is probably a white area where you can write the date that you are freezing strawberries. We use the frozen strawberries within six months.
I got 12 quart bags for freezing strawberries out of a flat of giant fresh berries. These were bigger than any I ever bought in a store and they were incredibly sweet. You can also can strawberries in glass jars or you can dehydrate them and eat them as fruit chips.
Here is an easier way:
First remove the stems from every strawberry and then wash them all in the sink to remove all dirt, leaves, and anything else that might have gotten mixed in with your berries when you harvested them.
Lay the washed berries out on the clean, dry dish towels and pat the tops dry. It is best for your berries to be dry or the excess water will form ice crystals on them in the freezer.
Line your cookie sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Put a single layer of dry berries on the paper on each cookie sheet.
the cookie sheets in the freezer for four to six hours, until they are
frozen. If you have a small freezer, you may be able to fit just one
cookie sheet in at a time.
Remove one cookie sheet at a time from the freezer.
Place the frozen berries from the cookie sheet into quart-sized freezer bags, such as ZipLock bags, because they seal well so your berries will not get freezer burn. Place the bags in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
Defrost your berries and use them in recipes or just to enjoy in a bowl with some whipped cream. You will find the consistency will be soft and juicy, instead of plump and firm but they will still taste delicious.
My grandmother would defrost them in a bowl, add some sugar, stir and let them sit for an hour or so and then serve them in dessert bowls with Cool Whip after dinner. She would also serve them on top of ice cream or use them in Strawberry Shortcake! Yum!
If you would like to try growing your own strawberries, here is the link to our strawberry seeds. Strawberries are one of the most difficult seeds to germinate. Don't give up! Keep trying.
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