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How to freeze strawberries

(article, Culinate staff)

If you've admired the spring strawberries at the farmers' market but have resisted buying a flat because, well, you don't know what you'd do with an entire flat of berries, don't despair. Purchase them! Then go home and freeze them. They'll be great later in smoothies, sauce, or in a [/recipes/collections/Contributors/Keri+Fisher/strawberryorangecrisp crisp.]

We recommend freezing the berries whole, separately, so that they don't become a big red ice block in the freezer. Follow these step-by-step instructions.

Note: On the advice of the Environmental Working Group, you may want to choose organic berries; EWG puts strawberries toward the top of its Dirty Dozen list.

block(clear). [%image collander float='clear right' width=350] First, place the berries into a colander and run them under cool water to wash them well. Alternatively, if your berries are very ripe and soft, submerge them in a bowl of cold water to clean them. 

block(clear). [%image towel float='clear right' width=350] Next, spread the berries on a kitchen towel, and leave them for at least 20 minutes to dry. 

block(clear). [%image greens float='clear right' width=350] When they're dry, remove the stems of the berries . . .

block(clear). [%image freeze float='clear right' width=350] . . . and place them on a baking sheet or plate that fits into your freezer. Take care not to let them touch one another. Place the tray in the freezer for three or four hours. You want the berries to freeze thoroughly but not to dry out. 

block(clear). [%image bags float='clear right' width=350] Carefully and quickly place the berries into plastic containers or freezer bags. Press all of the air out of the bags and seal.

block(clear). [%image labels float='clear right' width=350] Finally, label and date the package of berries, then promptly return them to the freezer. For the best flavor, eat them within six months.

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