Freezing strawberries and other berries for smoothies and other recipes is SO easy – and it’s wonderful to have frozen berries throughout the winter for fresh berry smoothies any time!
Preserving food through freezing is one of my favorite ways to save food for later. Not only is it easy, but it maintains the food at it’s freshest when it has the highest vitamin and food value. So while I like to can things like salsa or chutney that use produce, to preserve individual vegetables like green beans, snap peas, and corn I prefer freezing.
What about fruits like berries – can you freeze strawberries?
Fruits like strawberries are also super easy to freeze and are actually the preferred ways to preserve the fresh produce. I tend to make jams, sauces, or other things that I would like first and then to freeze the rest to be able to use in recipes like Big Crumb Berry Crisp and the smoothie below.
Of course we eat plenty of the fruit fresh when it’s in season – whether it’s from our yard, a U-pick, or farmer’s market – but when we’ve had our fill or when it’s mainly the smaller later-season berries, my thoughts move to freezing.
If you grow strawberries you know that late-season berries are often smaller and can be a bit misshapen. And when picking from your own patch, you’ll also find fewer and fewer berries as the season winds down.
But since we spent all the time planting and maintaining – and even more if they’re organic – we don’t want to throw even one small, oddly shaped berry away. Freezing is the answer! You can freeze any amount of berries, no matter the amount that your patch is producing, and add the frozen berries to a freezer container until it’s full. Freezing also works great for the slightly overripe berries that you forgot about or weren’t able to get out to pick sooner.
Basically, freezing is the answer to wasting less in your kitchen (and garden), which is a very good thing!
How to Freeze Strawberries
- Wash the berries.
- Hull them (i.e., cut the green tops off). Choose if you want to freeze whole or sliced. Sometimes you may want to do both – leave small berries whole and cut larger berries into about the same size as the small berries. For smoothies, this makes it easier to blend when frozen.
- Lay the berries on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
- Transfer the sheet to a freezer and freeze until solid, about 24 hours.
- When the berries are frozen, scoop them up and store in a freezer bag labeled with the contents and date (TIP: you don’t want to skip labeling, trust me – frozen foods can seem very similar to many other things).
- TIP: Use a straw or sealer to remove as much air as possible for the best quality storage.
And that’s it! All shapes, sizes, and ripeness of berries are welcome in the freezer where they’ll last for a year or more (TIP: it’s totally up to you when to eat them – they don’t go ‘bad,’ they just aren’t as good quality and may have more ice crystals).
Wondering about Freezing Blackberries, Raspberries and Blueberries?
These steps are the same to freeze any berries – you just don’t have to hull or do any other prep work besides washing (if needed) for blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, which make them even easier to freeze!
What to Do With Your Frozen Strawberries
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. Smoothies are SO easy when you start with frozen fruit – no ice needed.
Did you know if you start with frozen fruit you don’t need to add ice in smoothies? You also don’t need the (dreaded for me) banana or other things 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 our family’s favorite recipe to make an ice-less, banana-less smoothie – and those tiny, misshapen, and overripe berries? Who cares! It’s all good in here.
Click the arrow for the full Berry Smoothie recipe (with print options)!
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