Freezing Whole Strawberries

Every year in late spring, the kids and I pile in the van to trek 50 miles to a pick-your-own orchard to gather up enough strawberries to last us all year long.  We have a blast every time we go.  We're pretty fast pickers, too.  It only takes us a couple of hours to harvest around 80 pounds.  Yes, that's a whole lot of strawberries.  We use strawberries in smoothies, ice cream, and jam.

As soon as we arrive home from picking, we set to work sorting out how much we need for jam and how much can be put up in the freezer.  Yes, I put my kids to work.  I tell them, "If you want to eat strawberry jam, you best get busy helping me."

There's nothing to putting up whole strawberries in the freezer. You just need freezer space, a few baking sheets, and good freezer bags.

HERE'S ALL IT TAKES

Wash the strawberries and drain on clean tea towels.  Remove green tops.  Pat dry with another clean tea towel.

Place dry strawberries on baking sheets and freeze until solid.

Now, it REALLY helps to plan ahead and clear out the freezer before ever leaving the house.  As you can see from the photo below, I reserved the whole freezer for this mass strawberries freezing project.

The first year I started freezing in mass quantities, I learned to maximize my freezer shelf space.  Look at the following photo, again.  See how I used upside down cups to stack the baking sheets?  Yes, I am a genius.

Within the next 24 hours, pack strawberries loosely in a plastic bags and return to the freezer.

THAT'S IT!

You can also freeze strawberries in sugar.

After you pat them dry.  Put 1 quart of berries in a large container and add 3/4 cup sugar and toss well.  Pack into solid containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace or pack in freezer bags with a good seal, and freeze.

Sweetened strawberries can be thawed and used as a topping for pancakes, cakes, or ice cream.