Poetry and music are very good friends. Like mommies and daddies and strawberries and cream – they go together.- Nikki Giovanni
Strawberries are a sure signal that summer has arrived and is one of the first things I harvest out of my garden.
I can hardly wait for those beautiful white flowers to emerge and watch closely the progression from pale green little nobs into bright red juicy gems. In the beginning only one or two are ripe for the picking, and I have to admit, I can act like a bear just emerging from hibernation after a long winter… don’t mess with my berries!
One of the way’s I enjoy the pleasure of these summer strawberries all year long is by preserving them in the freezer. I have tried several methods but have found three that work best for me. I use brown sugar or honey for the Lightly Sweetened Syrup Pack, and the Dry Sugar Pack methods. In my experience, I’ve noticed that white sugar tends to bleach out the berries when thawed, but brown sugar seems to help them retain their color, and as a bonus lends a fresher taste to the strawberries as well. Honey can have a very distinctive flavor so it is important to use a milder form, like Clover, Locust, or Alfalfa. Honey is also sweeter cup for cup than sugar, so use about half as much as you would when using sugar.
A few tips before you start – Always choose the freshest quality strawberries available for best results and taste. Wash your berries lightly right before preparing them and then hull your berries, this helps to prevent your berries from taking on too much water which can lead to waterlogged and mushy results. Always allow berries to air dry or lightly pat dry with paper towel, taking care not to bruise the berries while doing so. Water when frozen on berries causes an icy buildup which can reduce the quality of your berries and shorten their freezer life.
Method 1 – Freezing Strawberries Whole
- Prepare strawberries by lightly rinsing to remove any dirt or debris and hull with a small paring knife or a strawberry huller (I like to remove the stem and a small amount of strawberry at the top to make an even edge so the berries will sit more easily on the baking sheet).
- Allow strawberries to air dry or lightly pat dry with paper towel taking care not to crush or bruise them.
- Prepare your baking sheet by placing wax paper or parchment paper on top.
- Place berries cut or hulled side down on baking sheet spaced where they are not touching.
- Place in coldest part of freezer and freeze until completely solid.
- Remove berries from freezer and place in heavy duty freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and close or use vacuum sealer.
- Label, date and return to freezer.
Method 2 – Dry Sugar Pack