Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Strawberry Fields Forever

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When processing strawberries, make sure you wash the berries first to remove dirt, leaves and other debris.  A colander is really useful in the process.
Want to hear something crazy?  I'd never eaten a strawberry until this year.  Strawberry jam, strawberry syrup....sure.  But not a whole strawberry and certainly not one that I just picked and plopped into my mouth.  We're getting strawberries here and there on our own young plants and they are supersweet and yummy.  Why I avoided strawberries and said I "didn't like them" I'll never know.  But there are lots of foods that this once-picky-kid is learning to like.

I wish I could say that the beautiful bowl of strawberries in the picture are ours, but they're not.  I picked these up at the store over the weekend for a steal thinking we could freeze them or that I could make a strawberry pie for J. (his favorite).

One of ours!
Sunday night, we stood in the kitchen for half an hour with J. cleaning and me slicing and the end result was about 3 quarts of berries.  Now the question was what to do with these beauties?  If you do nothing, they last only 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator.

Itching to bring out my canner for the first time this year, I tried to convince J. to let me make some jam with these but he really wanted to eat them whole.  So we opted to freeze about 2/3 of them and leave the rest to be eaten.  Freezing is easy - you just spread the berries out on a cookie tray so that they don't overlap and then stick them in the freezer for 24 hours.  These berries were pretty tart, so we mixed them with a 1/2 cup sugar per quart before freezing.

But...did you know....there are several different ways to preserve strawberries?  Me neither.  But what yuou plan on using the berries for and how long you want to preserve them can dictate which method you choose.  Also, be aware that most freezing methods will alter the color of the berries slightly (they'll be darker) and they will also be more mushy when thawed.  That may not make a difference if you're putting them into smoothies or into a pie.

Methods for Freezing Strawberries

Freeze them whole.  Wash and hull the berries, but leave them intact. Then pack them into plastic freezer containers or plastic bags, or use the cookie sheet or an ice tray.  If you pack them in bags, they may stick together.  With this method, the strawberries must be used within 2 months.

Freeze sugared strawberries.  This is the method that we used.  Wash and hull, and then either leave them whole or cut them into desired sizes.  Then sprinkle them with 1/2 cup sugar per quart of berries.  Pack them into plastic bags or containers or on the cookie sheet and then freeze for 24 hours. With this method, the strawberries can be stored up to 6 months.

Freeze pureed strawberries.  Wash and hull, then either mash or puree with a blender.  Then pour into plastic bags or individual ice cube trays. Puree can be stored up to 6 months.

Freeze strawberries in light syrup. Place washed and hulled berries in a plastic freezer. Boil together 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water until the sugar is dissolved to make simple syrup.  Then pour the syrup over the berries and freeze. With this method, strawberries can be stored up to 6 months.

Freeze with dry ice. This is the best method of freezing berries *if you have dry ice on hand*!  The key is in freezing the berries as quickly as possible and this is the only method that will keep the berries from getting mushy when they are thawed.  With this method, wash and hull, then mix berries with a crushed block of dry ice in a metal bowl.  Place the bowl in a cooler with a lid and leave the lid cracked slightly so that pressure from the gas coming off the dry ice can escape.  Wait 20 minutes. Then place the berries into a container or plastic bag and store in the freezer.  With this method, berries can be stored up to 6 months.

I hope you found this strawberry information useful - what I found the most interesting is that freezing them whole is really short-term.  My grandparents had always done it this way and I thought they would last longer.  But my grandfather was a notorious berry lover and, now that I think about it, they didn't stay in the freezer that long.  :-)

Have a "berry" good day, everyone!

Linked with this week's:  Monday Mania, Living Green, Fat Tuesday, and Country Homemaker hops.


  1. Ugh, I don't like them either! My better half LOVES them. I can eat them in jam... that's it. Stay away from the Cherry Berry Chillers!

  2. Hi, Mary Ann-

    You tried them with the free coupon, I guess? We were going to grab some last night and didn't make it, so I appreciate the feedback. On a related note, the fruit smoothies from Burger King are pretty decent. There was a freebie coupon for those in the paper last week or the week before. Hope your sister is comfortable and doing OK. I've been thinking about you for the past week and hoping all is as well as can be.

  3. On dry ice? I've never heard of that - but it makes sense to flash freeze at the peak of freshness. I don't think our strawberries will make it to the freezer - we like to eat them as fast as we can!

    1. Yeah, there's no way they'll even last 2 months. J. has already gone through 1/3 of them, even after he said I brought home too many!

  4. Frozen Strawberries make the best smoothies. (1 c. plain greek yogurt, 1 c. frozen strawberries (mine are usually cut in 1/2) & 1/2 - 1 c. juice you have on hand (I prefer pineapple or orange). Blend away, no need to add ice.

    1. Oh, yum! I'll have to try this with the greek yogurt rather than the plain. Got all the ingredients in the frig now and, since I'm on vacay today, I can have a treat, right?

  5. Thanks for the tips! And the time frames :-) Good stuff!

    1. Like strawberries ever last 6 months at my house. :-) Thanks for stopping by!


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