A pick-your-own strawberry farm near our place has started bearing fruits. This is the first time me and my family picked our own strawberries. We wanted to go back again and bring lots of it so we could stock up and use them throughout the year. What is the best way of preserving strawberries? If frozen, do strawberries still taste good even after a year?
You have the chance of selecting the best ones if you pick strawberries by yourself or if you buy them from a local strawberry stand.
The freshness of whole strawberries is maintained up to five days when refrigerated under optimum conditions. You can freeze them up to six months. Exceptional quality of frozen strawberries is preserved up to one year if you pack them in sugar. Unsweetened strawberries, however, deteriorate more rapidly. Still, it’s safe to eat even if its highest quality lapsed beyond that time.
Can You Freeze Strawberries?
The best way to freeze strawberries depends on their qualities and what you intend to do with them. Large strawberries are suitable for sliced or crushed strawberry products.
If you want to preserve whole strawberries for recipes, select the smaller ones. Frozen whole strawberries are good substitute for dried berries in cereal.
It’s also best served and eaten while ice crystals still adhere to the strawberries. The texture becomes soggy when they are completely thawed.
The quality of strawberries is enhanced if you freeze them in sweetened packs. Sliced or crushed large strawberries are usually more preferable if you freeze them in sugar or syrup packs.
Some use artificial sweeteners to reduce the calories in frozen strawberries. But this method only sweetens the strawberry. It will not preserve its richness of color or thickness.
Strawberries freeze harder and longer to thaw if you freeze them in unsweetened packs such as water, unsweetened juice or pectin syrup. But this method does not yield the same plumpness and color that fruits packed with sugar have.
How to Freeze Strawberries?
Freezing unsweetened whole strawberries is the most popular and simplest method of preserving strawberries. For improved flavor and color, you can pack them in sugar or syrup.
- Select only the fully-ripe strawberries without white or patches of green in its surface
- Wash in running water, drain and pat dry with a clean towel
- Remove the cap or leafy part with a small knife or strawberry huller
- Slice or crush the larger fruits and keep the smaller ones whole
- Do not let the sliced or crushed fruits remain in the open for 2 hours
- For syrup packs, melt 4 cups of sugar in 4 cups of lukewarm water
- Let it cool for three to four hours
- For sugar packs, add ¾ cup of sugar for each quart of strawberries
- Pack the sweetened berries in tight plastic container or freezer jars
- Put a piece of crumpled parchment or wax paper to keep the berries from floating above the syrup
- Leave ½ inch headspace, seal and freeze
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