Freezing Strawberries

Freezing strawberries is a wonderful way to extend the season’s bounty and relish their fresh aroma and flavor throughout the year.  Strawberries add a natural sweetness to any dish while also providing fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants. Strawberries are one of the best sources of vitamin C, necessary for supporting a healthy immune system, collagen production in skin and bones and so much more. A serving of about 8 strawberries supplies our daily need for vitamin C, the same as an orange.  Strawberries also are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in calories and have a low glycemic index.   Freezing strawberries is a quick and easy process to retain nutrients and reduces food waste by not letting them spoil in the fridge.

Always start with ripe, firm berries.  Freezing does not improve the quality.  Freshness is best captured if the berries are frozen as soon after picking as possible. The longer berries sit, the more nutrients and antioxidants they loose. Freezing the day of picking locks in the antioxidants and nutrients.  Begin by washing and stemming (removing the caps) the berries.  Strawberries can be frozen without sugar, with sugar, or with syrup.

Freezing Without Sugar using the Tray Pack Method.   Spread sliced or whole berries in a single layer on a baking sheet or jellyroll pan.  Place the tray into the freezer for one to two hours to freeze the berries solid.  Transfer frozen berries to containers or plastic zipper freezer bags, remove air, label, and return to the freezer.  Berries can be taken out easily in quantities needed and can be used partially thawed or fully thawed.

Freezing Without Sugar.  Place sliced or whole berries into a freezer container.  Allow adequate headspace for expansion in freezing.  Label and freeze.  Berries will freeze solidly together requiring thawing before use.  Add sugar or artificial sweetener at time of use, if desired.

Freezing With Sugar.   Add 3/4 cup sugar to 1 quart (about 1 1/3 pounds) of strawberries.  Gently stir until most of the sugar dissolves and allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes before transferring into containers.  Be sure to leave adequate headspace to allow for expansion in freezing.  Artificial sweeteners can be used to replace the sugar.  Follow manufacturers directions.  Artificial sweeteners add sweetness like sugar, but do not protect fruit color as sugar does.  Berries will freeze solidly together and will require thawing to use.

Freezing With Syrup.  Put berries into containers and cover with cold 50 percent syrup, leaving headspace for expansion. Label and freeze.  Berries will freeze solidly together and will require thawing to use.

Regardless of method used, be sure to not overload the freezer and allow adequate space to quickly freeze the berries.  Frozen strawberries kept at 0°F can be used indefinitely but are at best quality if used within 8-12 months.

Whether it’s slightly thawed berries atop oatmeal for breakfast or ice cream for dessert, a frozen berry snack or berries pureed in yogurt, a slushy, or made into a sauce, frozen strawberries provide all of the nutrients of fresh berries (and maybe more when they are frozen quickly) and still possess their sweet, deliciousness.

Sources:
Health Benefits of Fresh, Frozen, and Dried Strawberries.  California Strawberry.com
Freezing Strawberries.  National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Preserving Strawberries:  A Guide to Freezing.  University of Florida.  IFAS Extension.

Reviewed and updated, 5/2025, mg.

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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