Four Simple Methods for Freezing Strawberries

Strawberry season has just started where I live and I’m already stockpiling the precious fruit. This is the first summer that I have a deep-freeze and it is standing at attention, waiting to be packed full of produce, starting with local, sun-ripened berries.

OK, so you’ve been to the U-Pick or the roadside stand, and now you’ve got more strawberries than you know what to do with. Strawberries are sensitive to both heat and cold and are very delicate, so it is wise to ‘put them up’ as quickly as possible. Yes, they are best enjoyed just as they are: fresh and sweet, or perhaps stirred into a quick Strawberry-Rhubarb Micro-Mini Jam, but the majority of your berries should be frozen so you can enjoy them all year long.

While you feast on a bowl of berries and cream, consider your options for freezing the berries. Why yes, there are options! Please don’t lump the ruby jewels together in the bottom of a plastic bag, so that they freeze into an indistinguishable lump that is destined to become freezer burnt. Freezing strawberries is about the simplest preserving you will do all season. 

Here are suggestions for a few different methods for freezing strawberries. I use all of them, as they each have their benefits.

Whole Strawberries

Bags of whole, frozen strawberries are handy to have around for adding to smoothies or baking. This method of freezing on a tray or sheet ensures the berries freeze individually, rather than in an inconvenient brick.

They can be frozen without adding sugar, at a higher risk of getting freezer burn, so it is best to use them up within six months if they are indeed sugar free. Otherwise, a light dusting of sugar before freezing will both help preserve their color and prevent freezer burn.

How to Freeze Whole Strawberries

  1. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Don’t soak them long in water as this will result in a loss of flavor and nutrients!
  2. Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled. (Save those ones for your coulis, below)
  3. Place the strawberries on a baking sheet, not touching one another, and freeze until solid.
  4. Transfer the strawberries to plastic resealable bags or airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Strawberries in Simple Syrup

This tried and true ‘old school’ method calls for freezing the berries whole in a mildly sweet sugar-water. You can use jars or plastic containers to freeze them in.

Packed in liquid, the berries retain their color and shape when reconstituted, making them a standalone dessert. They can also be spooned over yogurt or ice cream, or heaped onto scones and topped with cream for a classic strawberry shortcake that is not lacking in flavor.

Tip 1: Make the simple syrup before you go berry picking or acquire your fruit. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge, and will be waiting, already chilled, for the moment your fresh strawberries arrive.

Tip 2: Add a subtle, natural flavoring to the simple syrup such as orange zest, green cardamom pods, or vanilla bean. Your jar of berries is now a seasonal dessert; thaw, open and eat with a spoon come January for a reminder of warmer days.

How to Freeze Strawberries in Simple Syrup

Make a simple syrup by combining 4 cups water to each 1 cup sugar. Dissolve the sugar in either cold or hot water; if hot water is used, be sure to chill the syrup before using.

Place whole or sliced berries in containers and cover with cold syrup; use about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of syrup for each pint container. Package and freeze.

To Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Never immerse frozen jars into hot water.

Strawberry Coulis

Strawberry coulis, or sauce, adds vibrant color and fresh flavor to many desserts, and is well-worth the effort and freezer space. Spoon it over pancakes or crepes, serve it over chocolate cake, or drizzle it over ice cream. No matter how you enjoy it, strawberry coulis offers a large reward for a minimal time investment.

While some recipes suggest cooking the berries or even adding cornstarch, all that is really needed for a tantalizing sauce is a few drops of citrus juice (to bring out the flavor of the berries) and perhaps a sprinkling of sugar if the berries are tart. This is then blended to a smooth consistency and that’s it!

Be sure to set aside some strawberry sauce for a refreshing strawberry-limeade concentrate below!

Recipe: Strawberry Coulis

  • 400 grams (about 1 pound) strawberries, washed and hulled, about two pints
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  1. Combine strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse until berries are somewhat chopped then blend until smooth and the sauce looks glossy. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.
  3. If desired, pass puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds. (I usually skip this step.)
  4. Pour into two 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/2 an inch of headspace at the top of the jar, and freeze.

Makes 2 cups.

Note: Sauce will also keep up to four days in the refrigerator.

Strawberry-Limeade Concentrate

Turn all your bruised and less-attractive berries into this snazzy summer cooler. By having this concentrate on hand, you can whip up fresh and beautiful drinks at a moment’s notice.

Recipe: Strawberry-Limeade Concentrate

  • 3/4 cup strawberry coulis (recipe above)
  • 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup lime juice (approximately 8 limes)

Mix ingredients together and freeze in ice cube trays.
To serve: In a drinking glass, stir together 1 cup cold water and two frozen cubes of concentrate and stir to combine. Enjoy.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Mmm….I can’t for our berries to be ready. I have never heard of freezing strawberries in simple syrup but I love the idea. So neat. This year I think we’ll be freezing some, making jam from some, and eating lots. We love to serve strawberries over pavlova and I love eating them in a salad with goat cheese and pecans. Yum!

  2. You know, I thought about how I was going to save produce from this Spring and Summer for the on-coming months when they aren’t readily available and I never once thought of strawberries! I’ll certainly be taking some of these methods and putting them to use over the next few weeks. I know myself, that come December, I’d give anything for a nice fresh strawberry and if it’s going to come from my freezer, I’d rather it be I who froze it and picked it up fresh!

    Thanks for the tips on freezing strawberries!

  3. I usually do the “flash freeze” method and have also done the coulis but I would never have thought to pack them in simple syrup. What a stellar idea! I especially love that you can add additional flavours without much effort. Can’t wait to try it!

  4. I didn’t know there were so many ways to freeze strawberries! What a great lesson. 🙂

  5. Strawberry season is already over here! Boo! 🙁 I didn’t get enough, that’s for sure. How we love strawberries here in our house! One great tip is to leave the green caps on when you freeze them whole, especially if they are designated for smoothies. The green caps have as much or more vitamin C than the rest of the strawberry! You can throw them whole into the blender and you’ll never know those caps are in there.

  6. Thanks for this informative and inspiring post–so inspiring that I just put in a bid for a secondhand chest freezer on craigslist! I hope you’ll be taking us through the summer with similar suggestions for freezing all the other great stuff that is soon to be in season….
    .-= Nancy @ Roving Lemon’s Big Adventure’s last blog: Wordless Wednesday =-.

  7. My Baba would freeze hulled strawberries whole in plastic tubs. Thawed and mixed with sour cream and a little sugar it was our reminder of summer in the cold, long winters. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was tasty.
    .-= Cheryl Arkison’s last blog: An Abundance of Limes =-.

  8. Oh thanks for this post!! Our local U-Pick just opened up this week and I am so excited to go pick! We always make enough jam to last us through the winter (I can’t even buy store bought jam any more, it just doesn’t compare!) but now you have given me so many other great ideas I think I will just have to pick even more strawberries!

  9. Sharlene says

    Wonderful article with great ways to keep strawberries around for a little bit longer! I love the idea of strawberry limeade concentrate. Will definitely be trying that out. Thanks!
    .-= Sharlene’s last blog: Lemon Bars =-.

  10. Genius. I always pick waaay too many but don’t want to freeze them whole since they would be just a shadow of their former selves. Love the syrup, limeaide and coulis ideas. Love! Thanks.

  11. Hi,

    Love the tips on freezing the berries. Just wondering where you bought your strawberries in Montreal and if you know which vendors sell pesticide-free strawberries.


  12. Thank you thank you thank you!! We are up to our elbows in strawberries, and now I feel so inspired — so many fun ways to preserve them!

  13. What great timing for this post as we’re ready to start picking in about 10 days. I’ve always used the simple syrup freezing method so thanks so much for the other options!
    .-= Tina’s last blog: The Disney Princess Girls Bike Is The Prettiest 16″ Ride For Girls =-.

  14. Hi Amy!

    What a great article…. I’m glad I found it! Strawberry season is in full swing here now… So, this will come in handy!
    .-= Leesa’s last blog: Eagle Paparazzi =-.

  15. Amanda H. says

    Thanks for these tips. How long will frozen coulis and the strawberries in simple syrup last? Looking forward to making some of these!

  16. My mother used to freeze strawberries using a very similar recipe as your strawberries in syrup. I agree with your thought on not buying store bought strawberries. The organic ones go bad in a second. It’s better to grow your own and you can avoid the pesticides.

  17. Last night my lovely man brought home 2 kilos of strawbs. Oooof.

    Now I have a few ideas for keeping some. Thank you!

    Next Q: What can I do with the kilo of cherries he also walked in with?

  18. Heather Park says

    I just made strawberry freezer jam, strawberry coulis and strawberry limeade concentrate in under 2 hours. We tasted the limeade before I froze it and its amazing! Depending on the quality of your strawberries (we picked our own yesterday, yum yum) you can use less sugar in the concentrate. I think we are going to try it with sparkling water and make it a fizz. Thank you for all the great ideas!

  19. samuel umezeka says

    i will like to know how i can use chop strawberries in making sealed yoghurt that can stay for 7 days or more. how do i preserve the srawberries for such purposes?

  20. Anonymous says

    Really cool ideas!! I can’t wait to try the strawberry coulis!!

  21. Dottielongobardo says

    Would like to be to have all the recipe

  22. Is the simple syrup method the best for making icecream later down the line?

  23. munawwarkhan. says

    Ilooked your ideas about freezing strawberries.I realyrealy apriciate yourintrest in preserving such a delicate fruit of season which is not available after season and admire you on sharing the techniches.thanks again.

  24. Sa-eeda Daniels says

    Thanks so much for Sharing your tips in so much detail! It’s strawberry season here in Cape Town, South Africa and I want to take my 3 little ones on a strawberry picking outing, and I’m looking forward to trying ALL your methods!!

  25. Great tips! On the journey to living healthier always and we are hoping to pick up some strawberries today at the Farmer’s Market! Thanks for sharing!

  26. We were able to pick strawberries this weekend, and I let the boys go at it furiously (they were competing against family friends, of course!) because I knew that I would find something on simplebites that would tell me how to keep the strawberries from going to waste. I was right. 🙂 8 quarts down, 8 quarts to go! (We lost the competition. I’m not going to lie – I’m glad. If I had any more to try to process with four boys who want to do things other than watch me in the kitchen, we’d all be going crazy!)

  27. 7 Years later and this post is still helping people like me figure out how to store all these freshly picked berries before they’re bird food! Thank you!! ?

  28. Brenda Stiller says

    In the recipe above it says to wash and hull the berries and remove the spoiled ones (save these for the Coulis) I don’t think you you want spoiled Berries in coulis!!!!!!

  29. There is one more way to preserve strawberries and other fruit throughout the summer: we in Germany call it”Rumtopf”. One pound fruit, half a pound sugar, cover with high alcohol rum. Let sit in cool place til the cold season. Great over icecream, cakes, or in a tall glass with some champagne added.

  30. Sarah Brouwer says

    As always, great ideas! I don’t have a very large freezer so I tend to can surplus veg and fruit. Would it be possible to can the strawberry coulis? Would I need to pressure can it?

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