Select fully ripe, firm berries with a deep red color. They should be plump and moist in appearance. Avoid dry, shriveled berries with brown caps, or soft-bodied berries that are bruised or leaking juices. Keep in mind that very large containers may contain berries that are being crushed by their own weight. Steer clear of sticky containers and berries showing signs of mold.
Discard immature and defective berries. Wash strawberries and remove caps (hull). Drain and pat dry.
Add 3/4 cup sugar to 1 quart (1 1/3 pounds) strawberries and mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Pack strawberries into suitable containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Put strawberries into suitable containers and cover with cold, heavy syrup (4 cups water to 4 3/4 cups sugar), leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Prepare for packing as for whole strawberries; then slice or crush partially or completely. Add 3/4 cup of sugar to 1 quart (1 1/3 pounds) strawberries and mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Pack strawberries into suitable containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Remove caps, wash and drain strawberries. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer to tray-freeze. When frozen, transfer to suitable containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing strawberries includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers, glass containers and heavy-duty foil containers.
12 months at 0ºF.
Defrost frozen strawberries in the microwave (see manufacturer's recommendations) or let thaw in refrigerator.
Strawberries packed with sugar will retain their texture better than berries frozen unsweetened. Serve tray-frozen strawberries when they are semi-thawed to retain shape.
Unwashed strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Leave their caps intact and keep them in perforated plastic containers or cover them in plastic wrap.
I heard it is really hard to freeze whole strawberries and have them come back out of the freezer whole, they tend to get mushie. Even if you put them on a cookie sheet -not touching-when they thaw they get mushie. I was watching Alton Brown on the food channel (cable) and he said to keep them crisp you need to use a dry ice method. BUT there is a certain procedure to follow, so that you don't burn them and DON'T touch the dry ice either or your hands will stick to it and you will pull off a layer of skin trying to get them off. BEST to just buy them fresh and eat.
I freeze a lot of applesauce and other soft or liquid food items in plastic sandwich bags. I first put the sandwich bag into a 8 oz. measuring cup or margarine container, add a cup of applesauce or whatever, and close with a twist tie. If I have enough 8 oz. margarine containers, I just leave the food in them to freeze. If not, I use those cheap aluminum foil bread pans and cram about three bags in each pan. When frozen, I remove the bags and put them in a plastic grocery bag and label with the kind of food and date.
This method prevents the bags from freezing with pointy corners and puncturing the grocery bags and they are small enough to defrost easily. To defrost, I remove the sandwich bag, put the food in a glass dish, and give it about a minute in the microwave on high. I chop it up somewhat with a knife, and heat it again 1-2 min. more to completely defrost or a couple of minutes longer than that to heat up.
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