On Monday night, when the fabulous dude got home from work we decided to head to the next town over to pick some strawberries. I've mentioned before that our landlords have a small patch here, but this year it was not nearly as full as past years. So, off we went.
20 minutes and $11 later we came away with this basket heaping full (I could have sworn I took a picture when I got home but I cannot find it anywhere! I know a photo of an empty basket does not have the same effect)...
Then when we returned home, I did what any independent grown woman would do. I called my mom and asked her what the heck I am supposed to do with all these berries. Did I forget to mention that I also had three quarts of berries from the grocery store that I bought on the weekend?
Of course, I considered making jam. I hemmed and hawed and finally decided against it, because, well, I don't really love jam. So, my mom explained to me the process she uses to freeze strawberries for future use.
It sounded like a great plan to me. This way, if I change my mind later and decide to make jam after all, I still have the option.
I started by reserving a good size bowl of berries to eat fresh.
Then I washed and hulled the berries. The pampered chef strawberry huller is my new best friend. It makes the process so much quicker and easier (but I still have calluses on my hand).
Next, I lined the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet with edges.
I left some whole, and sliced some.
I made a flat space for them in the freezer and carefully placed them, one on top of the other.
I left them in the freezer for about 1.5 hours. You want them to be slightly frozen but be careful not to leave them too long or they will get frost bite. I know you can't tell the difference, but these are the berries after being frozen.
I took one cookie sheet out at a time and quickly transferred the berries into freezer bags before they began to thaw. If you want, you could freeze them in certain portions (1 cup, 2 cups etc..) but I just filled the bags. By flash freezing them like this, the berries will not stick together once placed in bags or containers. So, I can take out the desired number each time without having to use the whole bag.
I froze 4 cookies sheets worth, which ended up being 4 large freezer bags of whole berries and 1 small freezer bag of sliced berries.
Now I have plenty of strawberries for smoothies, baking or to eat over ice cream!