One thing I love about heading south in the winter is that I get to enjoy strawberry season in February, and then I get to enjoy it back home in the northeast again in July. Our family can’t get enough strawberries, we buy two cartons a week from the grocery store in the winter months just for snacking and packing school lunches.
Even though we love strawberries, there are times in the summer when they all ripen at once and we end up with too many and I don’t want to let a single one go. So whenever I get a pretty hefty harvest, the first thing I think about is how to preserve strawberries, so I can enjoy them a bit longer and share them with friends and family.
Learning how to preserve strawberries isn’t just canning and jellies, either. You can make strawberry sorbet, or ice cubes, and other recipes, but there are plenty of easy ways to preserve them whole and chopped as well. So if you’re interested in preserving strawberries yourself, I’ve got 10 easy ways below that can lengthen the freshness of these bright, juicy, gorgeous jewels.
How To Preserve Strawberries in 10 Easy Ways
Before diving into how to preserve strawberries, it’s important to remember that preservation starts with some thorough washing. Additionally, check for any moldy or mushy strawberries and discard them or chop up the good parts for immediate use. Misting your strawberries with one part vinegar mixed with three parts water will also lengthen their shelf life by killing residual microorganisms. Just rinse them again before you eat them.
Now, let’s get right into how to preserve strawberries with these 10 easy methods:
This is probably the most common way to preserve strawberries, whether they’re whole, sliced, diced, or pureed.
Hull the strawberries and remove the leaves. If doing it whole or sliced, spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then flash freeze them for three to four hours. This will prevent them from sticking to one another in the bag. Once they’re nicely frozen, transfer the strawberries into an airtight Ziploc or freezer-safe container.
This method is quick, easy, and your strawberries will last for eight months up to about a year!
2. Keep Them in a Berry Box
If you’re not too keen about frozen strawberries, you can keep them inside your fridge in a berry keeper box (this one on Amazon works well). You might be thinking of a wooden or cardboard berry box, but all those will do is dry out your berries in the refrigerator.
Humidity is important to keep your strawberries from shrinking or molding faster since they’re thin-skinned fruits, so what this berry keeper box does is let you rinse the berries using the included strainer, then place them back in the box with the strainer, so a little moisture hangs at the bottom from the dripping strawberries, but doesn’t sit on the berries themselves. This creates an ideal humid environment (also great for blueberries!) Ideally, the humidity levels should be between 90% and 95% in your fridge.
You can also rinse them and put them in glass mason jars with the lid closed. Under optimum conditions, your strawberries will keep up to a week longer than if you just left them in the fridge in their carton or worse, open to the elements which will dry them out.
3. Make Jam and Jelly
Who doesn’t love strawberry jam? Here is a recipe for strawberry jam we love. The best part is, all you need to make strawberry jam are crushed but slightly chunky strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. You can use pectin also for a more traditional spin, but I don’t use it. Place them all in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
Once it boils, pour your freshly made strawberry jam into sterilized jars, leaving about half an inch of headspace. Seal and process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Take them out of the water, so your jam can cool for 24 hours.
Jelly is much smoother than jam, but the process is similar and that’s when I use pectin. You just have to strain your mashed, cooked strawberries through dampened cheesecloth to make jelly first. Straining can take elbow grease, but it give you that clean, clear consistency you expect from jelly.
Electric dehydrators aren’t a common household item, but you should consider getting one if you want to preserve strawberries through dehydration. This is my favorite way to preserve strawberries a little longer, because they’re so darn expensive to buy dehydrated!
With this method, it’s best to slice your strawberries down to a fourth or an eighth of an inch thick. Spread them out on your dehydrating tray — be careful not to let them touch. Depending on how thick your slices are or how crispy you want them to be, dehydration can take between eight and 14 hours.
Once done, let them cool for 30 minutes. Check for any moisture as that can cause mold. Store your dehydrated strawberries in glass jars to enjoy!
5. Can Them Whole
This one’s easy but does take some time. After cleaning and hulling your whole strawberries, dust them with a bit of sugar and let them sit for six hours. Once they’ve released their juices, can them straight away! All the extra water and juice can make them lose their flavor and color, but this process should help reduce that. You can also fill the jar with a boiled sugar and water solution.
6. Turn It into Sauce or Syrup
To make delicious strawberry sauce, dice your strawberries into tiny pieces, removing as much of the white interior as you can. Crush them with a spoon to get that thick, saucy consistency.
In a bowl, sprinkle some sugar over the strawberries and let them sit. You can leave the sauce in the fridge for up to three days, but freezing or canning will lengthen its shelf life. This is best enjoyed with desserts!
7. Infuse It in Liquor
If you’ve got some light rum or vodka, it’s time to make strawberry-infused liquor! Just put your sliced strawberry chunks in a glass jar and pour your liquor of choice. Seal and store in a cool, dry, dark location. Shake and turn over the jar once a day. Check back in a week or two to see how it tastes!
8. Ferment With Honey
Another easy and straightforward way — submerge your strawberries in fresh honey! It’s a Finnish technique for long-term preservation that keeps the fruit fresh and mildly fermented when its jar is placed in a cold cellar. This resource offers a good tutorial.
9. Make Ice Cubes
I love to simply make infused ice cubes with sliced strawberries and other berries, or mixed with lemon and mint. It’s up to you! Contrary to the photo above though, I remove the stems first.
10. Bake Fruit Leather
This is a really tasty snack that will be a hit with the kids! All you need is to puree the strawberries with sugar and lemon juice. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then pour in the smooth puree and bake for three hours at 170°F. Once cooled, slice the strawberry leather into strips or shape them using cookie cutters! Store fruit leather in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper.
Do you feel like you know how to preserve strawberries now? What other ways do you preserve your strawberries? Let me know in the comments!