How to preserve strawberries (freezing)
Depending on whether you have June bearing or ever bearing strawberries, you may need to think about preservation.
Ever bearing strawberries
If you have a small patch of ever bearing strawberries, you can probably just harvest as they ripen, and eat them all fresh, not ever having to worry about preservation. Ever bearing strawberries will produce less, smaller strawberries, but they will produce throughout the season.
June bearing strawberries
If you have June bearing strawberries, they will produce a huge crop over a three-five week time span. I get strawberries for five weeks. I like June bearing strawberries, because I actually start getting berries in mid-May, so it is typically my first fruit of the season. I don’t mind that the season is quick, because when the strawberries are done, I am moving on to other fruits such as cherries, blackberries, and raspberries. The bad thing about strawberries is they are a pain to pick. Strawberries are a hands and knees in the patch picking experience, with your back in the hot sun. I will spend about 90 minutes a day picking strawberries during the peak strawberry season. I will get about 10-15 pounds of strawberries every day for about three weeks, and 3-5 pounds per day for two weeks. The good thing about strawberries is they taste great, and I get tons to preserve.
I like to freeze my excess strawberries. Strawberries can be dehydrated, and made into jam, but freezing is so easy, that I think it is really the only practical option for putting away a lot of strawberries.
How to freeze strawberries
1. Collect only the good strawberries without blemishes. I give my damaged strawberries to the chickens. They love them!
2. Wash your strawberries. I clean out my sink then I fill it with cold water to wash.
3. Cut off hulls. (Green leafy part)
4. Dry in a colander for ten minutes
5. Put in freezer bags. Remove excess air with a straw. You can also use a food saver vacuum packer, which I have, but I don’t like to use it for strawberries, because you have to pre-freeze the berries on a cookie sheet in the freezer before vacuum packing. Otherwise it will pull the strawberry liquid through the vacuum, and it won’t seal properly. I find that freezer zip-lock bags work fine for berries, and they are cheaper than food saver bags.
6. Date, and put in the freezer, so you know which ones to eat first.