Next to homemade strawberry jam, freezing strawberries is the best way to preserve their flavor and juiciness. These instructions ensure that the berries don't clump together but remain loose so that you can easily take out just the amount you want.
Choose strawberries when they are at their sweetest and most aromatic, which will almost always mean locally grown berries during their brief peak season. Freezing will not improve the taste of out-of-season fruit. In most strawberry-growing regions, peak strawberry season is from mid-spring through early summer.
Prepare the Strawberries
Wash the strawberries and let them drain for a few minutes in a colander. Slice off the hulls (green parts). Leave very small strawberries whole; cut larger berries into halves or quarters.
Spread the cleaned, whole or sliced strawberries in a single layer on a baking sheet or on plates. Freeze the fruit, uncovered, for 2 hours. This step is what ensures that the berries will remain separate once they are frozen.
Transfer to Freezer Containers
Transfer the frozen berries to freezer bags or containers. Label and date the bags or containers. I recommend these BPA-free non-plastic freezer containers. You can store strawberries in the freezer for up to 6 months. They are still safe to eat after that, but their quality starts to go downhill.
Ways to Use Frozen Strawberries
Blend straight-out-of-the-freezer strawberries with milk (or non-dairy alternative), a little yogurt, and honey or other sweetener of your choice. The frozen berries will give the smoothie a thick, cold milkshake texture.
Frozen strawberries are just as good as fresh for making jam. Stockpile them in the freezer during the harvest season, and get around to that jam project later when you have time.
Use frozen strawberries to make sorbet or ice cream. Ironically, you'll need to thaw the fruit before transforming it into one of those frozen desserts, but the result will be just as delicious as if you had used fresh strawberries.
Thaw frozen strawberries and then puree them to make a simple, colorful sauce to spoon over yogurt, cake, or fresh fruit. Because there is nothing in the sauce other than the strawberries, it is especially important that you start out with high quality, flavorful berries.