How to Freeze and Store Strawberries
In-season strawberries are fragrant, red, juicy and sweet; they're amazing eaten out of hand and the cornerstone of favorites such as strawberry shortcake and strawberries and cream. But for as much as we love strawberries, there's no denying that they aren't the hardiest fruits out there. Even if you're super careful about keeping them mold-free, at best, they'll last a week, and often will turn days before then. If you're stuck with a pint or more of fresh berries you can't finish in such a short time, though, you're in luck: You can absolutely freeze them.
Start by rinsing the berries, patting them dry on towels, and removing their stems. The next step is freezing; ideally, you'll want to freeze them fast. Strawberries are high in water, so they're prone to turning soggy and waterlogged when you thaw them. To minimize the formation of ice crystals (which are the real culprit here; they break down the berries' structure, so they become soft when they thaw) it's best to flash freeze them. You can do this by freezing them in a single layer, so they're rapidly exposed to the freezer's cold air. (This trick works well with other berries, too.).
Place the berries on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, so they aren't touching each other, and put the sheet in the freezer. The paper and the spacing will prevent them from sticking to the sheet and each other. After two hours or so, take the baking sheet out of the freezer, remove the berries from the paper, and transfer them to a freezer-safe bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. Then put the bag in the freezer for up to two months (longer than that and the berries may start to lose their flavor).
Frozen strawberries are great in smoothies and milkshakes, of course, though there are many more possibilities: Turn them into a sauce for ice cream, use them in ice pops, or thaw them for baking in cakes and pies.