If you like strawberries in the winter, for cobblers, dessert, or just in a bowl; just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a couple of quarts fresh or bought a them from a farm stand and then quickly froze them at home! It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a fruit for the winter. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. Your own frozen strawberries will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store. Strawberries are different in that you must remove the hulls (the green cap) after washing, but otherwise the same as other berries. See this page for easy strawberry jam and preserves recipes and complete directions. To freeze blueberries, see this page (there are a few differences).
Start with the freshest strawberries you can get. Look for plump, full berries with a good color. I've used blueberries as an example, but these directions would equally well for any other berry (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) See the picking tips page for other berries.
Wash the strawberries in a bowl of plain cold water.
Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy strawberries. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the strawberries as they float. With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy berries get caught in your fingers.
Use a large sieve or colander to remove as much water as possible. I usually let them sit for about 10 minutes in the colander.
Cut the hulls off the strawberries, then drain the water from them. You can cut the berries up, or leave them whole, as you like.
Pack a freezer bag with the strawberries, and exclude as much as air as you can when you seal the bag.
I love the FoodSavers (see this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags. Remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. .
If you use the vacuum food sealer, and the berries have a lot of juice or liquid on them, you can freeze the filled, but still open bags and then vacuum seal them, so the liquid doesn't get sucked into the device.
A tip for a low budget vacuum sealer:
To remove the excess air from a ziploc bag, put a straw inside the bag and zip it closed as far as possible. Then suck the air out of the bag, pinch the straw shut where it enters the bag and pull it from the bag and quickly zip the bag the rest of the way.
Pop them into the coldest part of the freezer, or the quick freeze shelf, if your freezer has one!
I leave them in the freezer overnight, to get completely frozen.
Of course, you'll want to label them with the contents and date, or all this work could be wasted, if you can't identify them later, or don't know how old they are.
Pop them into the deep freeze, or in the coldest part of your regular freezer!
To use them, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours. I wouldn't recommend the microwave unless you are planning to cook with them!
Home Canning Kits
See the seller's website for more information, features, pricing and user reviews!
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes? Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!
Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!
[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]
Notes for March 2020: Spring is here! Strawberry season started in February in Florida, Texas, southern California; then starts in March along the Gulf coast, April in the Deep South and west coast, May through much of the country, and June in northern areas. Blueberries are next, about a month later. Of course, cool weather crops, like Rhubarb, asparagus and greens should be available almost everywhere. Check your area's copy calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates.
Now, more than ever, going to a farm, being outside, away from crowds, getting fresh, local produce, makes more sense than ever before! It's a fun, safe
and educational to pick some fresh strawberries, blueberries and more, then come back here to learn how to freeze, can, make jam, salsa and much more!
Of course, check with the farm before you go, both to check on crop availability
and make sure that they're open, given rapidly changing state requirements for
businesses and people due to Coronavirus.
It's likely that many Easter Egg Hunts will be cancelled, but check on our companion website to find a local Easter Egg hunt!
Children's Consignment Sales occur in both the Spring and Fall See our companion website to find a local community or church kid's consignment sale!
We also have easy home canning, jam and jelly making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since 2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!