Freezing strawberries for smoothies is SO easy – and it’s wonderful to have frozen berries throughout the winter for fresh berry smoothies any time!
Of course you can freeze strawberries throughout the season, but I find that we tend to eat the big, juicy berries of the main season fresh, making later season smaller berries perfect for freezing. If you grow strawberries – or buy them from the farmer’s market – you know that late-season berries are often smaller and can be a bit misshapen. When picking from your own patch, you’ll find fewer and fewer, as well.
But if they are organic – and especially if I grew them – I don’t want to throw even one small, oddly shaped berry away. Freezing is the answer, and works great, too, for the slightly overripe berries that you forgot about or weren’t able to get out to pick sooner.
How to Freeze Strawberries
- Wash them
- Hull them (i.e., cut the green tops off)
- Lay them on a cookie sheet in a single layer
- Transfer the sheet to a freezer & freeze 24 hours
- When the berries are frozen solid, scoop them up and store in a labeled freezer bag (tip: you don’t want to skip labeling- frozen they can seem very similar to other red things).
All shapes, sizes, and ripeness are welcome in the freezer where they last for a year or more (it’s totally up to you when to eat them – they don’t go ‘bad,’ just aren’t as good quality and maybe have more ice crystals). This is also how you freeze any berries – you just don’t have to hull blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, which make them even easier.
We eat our frozen berries right out of the bag (it’s like nature’s sorbet!), and I add them with other berries to individual berry crisps (with yummy big-crumb topping!). But our favorite way to use them, by far, is for smoothies. And it’s SO easy when you start with frozen fruit.
Did you know if you start with frozen fruit you don’t need to deal with ice in smoothies? And you also don’t need the (dreaded) banana to thicken it up – I am not a banana fan so all the banana-based smoothies are out for me (and believe me, there is NO way to cover up that flavor…).
Here’s a way to make an ice-less, banana-less smoothie – and those tiny, misshapen, and overripe berries? Who cares! It’s all good here.
- ½ to 1 c. yogurt or milk (adds protein)
- about 3 cups frozen fruit, or amount needed for your servings (use1-3 different kinds of berries and/or chopped and frozen other fruit)
- Optional: 1-2 TB chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax meal, or a handful of raw spinach or kale
- about ½ cup of fruit juice, like apple (tart berries benefit from apple juice, but sweeter berries like strawberries may need only water)
- water to get desired consistency
- Add yogurt or milk to a blender pitcher, then add the desired amount of frozen fruit and any optional ingredients (it's best to only fill the pitcher ¾ full at most).
- Pour fruit juice and ½ cup of water over ingredients and blend. It will be pretty thick when starting with frozen fruit, so use a spatula to scrape down and more liquid, if needed, to get a good, smooth blend going. Blend until completely smooth.
- Serve immediately.*