Strawberries are easy to freeze using a dry-sugar or syrup pack. The dry-sugar pack is especially easy and gives the best flavor and color for sliced or crushed berries. For whole frozen berries a syrup pack is recommended because it produces a plump, well-shaped berry after thawing. For special sugar-free diets, strawberries can be frozen unsweetened, but they will not be as high in quality as sugar- or syrup-packed berries.
Twelve pounds or eight quarts of fresh strawberries will yield approximately 13 pints of frozen berries. No matter which type of pack you choose, follow these general directions for preparing and packaging strawberries for freezing:
- Use only firm, fully ripe berries.
- To avoid bruising and waterlogging the berries, wash only a few at a time in cold water.
- Drain on absorbent paper or in a colander or sieve.
- Remove the hulls with the tip of a floating blade peeler.
- Chill the fruit in ice water to lower the temperature for fast freezing.
When packaging for freezing:
- Allow 1/2" headspace for pints and 1" for quarts.
- Adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) according to package directions will prevent darkening.
- Label containers and freeze promptly.
Dry Sugar Pack
- Halve, quarter or slice clean berries into a bowl or shallow pan.
- Sprinkle sugar over berries using 1/3 to 3/4 cup sugar for each quart of fruit.
- Stir very gently until the sugar is dissolved.
- Package and freeze.
Make a syrup using 1-1/4 cups water to each cup of sugar. Dissolve the sugar in either cold or hot water. If hot water is used, be sure to chill the syrup before using. Use about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of sugar for each pint container. Place whole or sliced berries in containers and cover with cold syrup. Package and freeze.
Pack whole, sliced or crushed berries in containers and cover with water or berry juice. For better color retention, add ascorbic acid to the water, berry juice, or crushed berries. Cover crushed berries with their own juice. Package and freeze as discussed earlier.
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