I bring you this post today with a sense of urgency as I have it on good authority this may be the last week to get fresh Oregon strawberries. Before I rush out to buy my own, I’m offering a quick tutorial on freezing strawberries so if you are lucky enough to have access to the most strawberry tasting of all strawberries you can snatch them up and enjoy as long as they last in your freezer.
Of course, you can use this simple guide for delicious California strawberries or whatever variety is local to you as well (Actually, this method works for just about any berry; blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.). In season, all strawberries are wonderful but I’ll admit we are a bit biased in Oregon. It’s just that our strawberries are super sweet, gorgeous red all the way through and literally melt in your mouth at the peak of ripeness. That’s something to brag about.
The uses for frozen strawberries are endless and you probably already have your own ideas but in case you need a few more here goes… Strawberry smoothies, strawberry simple syrup, strawberry filling, strawberry sauce, strawberry ice cream, strawberry sorbet, strawberry daiquiri, strawberry frozen yogurt, strawberry “ice cubes”, strawberry margaritas, strawberry jam, strawberry salsa, strawberry granita, I could go on but I won’t… I have a simple syrup recipe and a recipe for strawberry pie bars I’ll be posting soon for extra inspiration.
So, run on down to your local farm stand (If you’re in Bend try Paradise Produce on the west side of town or Farmer Brown’s on the east side.) and grab a few pints or even a whole flat of beautiful berries then follow these simple steps.
Give them a good rinse with cold water. (Don’t soak the berries or they may take on the extra water and lose flavor.)
Lay them out on dish towels (make sure they’re old ones you don’t mind staining) to dry. Pat them gently with another dish towel to speed up the process.
Remove the stem from each strawberry with a small sharp paring knife or a handy little coring tool like I used. Try to preserve as much of the berry as you can.
Find a large, flat pan that will fit in your freezer (important detail) and line it with parchment paper. Lay dry, stemmed strawberries in a single layer and freeze for at least two hours or as long as overnight. This step ensures that the berries won’t stick together in freezer bags.
Transfer the berries to quart size or gallon size freezer bag/bags.
Get as much air out of the bag as you can before sealing. Keep frozen. They are best used within 6 months.
Today is our first day of summer before my girls move on to 5th grade. Time keeps moving so fast! I like the message of this quote…
As our lives speed up more and more, so do our children’s. We forget and thus they forget that there is nothing more important than the present moment. We forget and thus they forget to relax, to find spiritual solitude, to let go of the past, to quiet ambition, to fully enjoy the eating of a strawberry, the scent of a rose, the touch of a hand on a cheek… ~ Michael Gurian