image by kodakgold, sxc.hu
In early summer, strawberry season comes on fast and furiously, and it can be hard to keep up. Here's a way to preserve the harvest and keep some berries to use later in the year for pies, muffins, smoothies and more.
Choose berries that are fully ripe, sweet and juicy. High quality fresh berries are essential for high quality frozen berries. Berries grown locally and picked fresh and in season are far superior to berries shipped halfway across the world in the middle of winter. Due to their high water content, berries may contain high amounts of pesticide residue. To avoid pesticides, choose organic strawberries whenever possible.
Inspect your strawberries and remove any moldy, damaged or bruised berries.
Using a colander, gently rinse your berries under cool running water. Pat them dry.
Slice the stems off of each strawberry, using a paring knife and cutting board. You should also cut away any green, under-ripe tips or small bruises or blemishes.
Line a baking sheet with a single layer of strawberries, and freeze for 2 to 4 hours, until the berries are just starting to set up.
Remove the berries from the baking sheet and transfer to a zip top freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air and seal tightly. Return the berries to the freezer.