How To Freeze Fresh Berries

July 26, 2023

My technique for how to freeze fresh berries is easy & yields great results! Summer is the perfect time for berry picking and storing them for year-long use. This is a quick guide on how to freeze fresh berries perfectly for optimal fruit preservation without having to can them or use preservatives.

Frozen strawberries on parchment | how to freeze fresh berries

Living in Southern Minnesota, there are a handful of fantastic pick-your-own berry farms close by. This year, we picked strawberries at a local organic patch about 10 miles from our house. We also drove to Wisconsin for prime blueberry, raspberry, and currant picking at an organic farm too! After loading up on pounds and pounds of fresh berries, we brought everything home to process. All berries get either juiced (for Strawberry cocktails), frozen, made into jam, or eaten right away!

U-Pick Berry Farm Tips

If you’ve never picked your own berries fresh from a berry farm, you are absolutely missing out! The berries are at peak ripeness and max flavor when you pick them fresh. “Two for the bucket, one for my mouth!” Here are our tips for an awesome experience berry picking:

  • Know when to go: Watch closely on your local berry farm’s website or facebook page for current conditions. Berry patches open quickly and can be “picked out” just as fast! You can always call ahead too! Keep a watchful eye on the weather and avoid berry picking during a storm.
  • Be there early in the morning: We pick when the farm opens, whether it’s 7am or 9am. The weather is usually the coolest in the morning hours. Once it gets very hot, berry picking can be exhausting! Kids also will complain more if they are overheating in the sunshine.
  • Dress appropriately: Bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and wear pants & long-sleeve UV protective clothing if possible. Long-sleeves help with avoiding thorns on raspberry bushes. Pants are helpful when picking strawberries on the (sometimes muddy and uncomfortable) ground. Lather with sunscreen if it’s a sunny day. Bring a rain jacket if a light rain is expected. You won’t want to be picking berries if there’s a heavy downpour of rain.
  • Bring your kids: If you have a baby, place them in a baby carrier preferrably on your back. Our infant wasn’t old enough to be back carried during strawberry picking, making it much more difficult. Explain how to pick berries in a comprehensive manner to young kids so they avoid picking unripe fruit. Bring a stroller or blanket for them to sit and take a break as well.
  • Taste your bounty: Berry picking is best when you get to taste the berries as you pick them. This is why we specifically pick organic farms so that the berries are SAFE to eat while we pick and beyond.

Process and Prep Fresh Berries

Wash all berries separately, keeping all types of berries with their own kind. Don’t mix them all together unless you intend to freeze them that way. I keep mine separately so that baking with them is very easy. To wash the berries, I place them in a large basket strainer and set that in a large bowl of water with juice from half a lemon to naturally clean the berries and chase out bugs. While the berries are submerged in water, they can be easily cleaned. Debris will rise to the top of the bowl. Pick out all the leaves, grass, stems, and any bugs. When you feel your berries are clean and debris-free, simply pick up the strainer so the water runs out.

Dry the berries by letting them strain in an empty sink for 5-10 minutes. Then, line a large bowl with towels (reusable or disposable) and place the strawberries into the bowl for another 5-10 minutes so the towels absorb the water.

Hulling Strawberries Before Washing and Freezing

Strawberries take the most time because they need the stems removed. You can purchase specific strawberry hullers for under $7, but I prefer to use the melon baller I already have. Some people use a straw to remove the stems, but this has never worked out well for me, so I can’t recommend that method.

How to Freeze Fresh Berries

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place your dry berries on the parchment paper in a single layer. Freeze the berries in the pan for 1-2 hours. Transfer the berries to a ziploc bag, label it with the name of the berry and the date, and return your berries to the freezer.

Storing Frozen Berries

Frozen berries stored in an airtight container are best if used within 6 months, but can keep well for up to one year in the freezer! Check on them to be sure they don’t get freezer burn (coated in frost/ice crystals) before that. Freezer burn can affect the taste, but they are still safe to eat, make smoothies, and bake with.

Tips for Thawing Berries

Slow thawing is best for thawing berries and keeping their delicious texture! Simply place the frozen berries you’d like to thaw into a bowl (or keep them in their freezer bag) and set them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. This avoids the berries getting too mushy. Blueberries and raspberries thaw quite quickly and can be eaten easily while still frozen 5-10 minutes after being removed from the freezer. Frozen blueberries cut in half are our teething 6 month old’s favorite food at the moment!

What can I make with my frozen berries?

Glad you asked, I have so many delicious recipes for your berries. Now that you know how to freeze fresh berries, the tough part is choosing what to make!

  • Berry Sauce: This berry sauce (compote) is incredibly versatile and pairs perfectly with cheesecake, waffles, ice cream, and more. You won’t believe how easy it is to make!
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake: This white chocolate raspberry loaf cake is stunningly gorgeous and tastes amazing. The combination of white chocolate and juicy raspberries is irresistibly delicious! Plus, it’s easy to make and perfect for any occasion.
  • Strawberry Ricotta Muffins: Extra moist and soft, these strawberry ricotta muffins are the perfect breakfast treat. Filled with fresh strawberries and sweet ricotta cheese, these are good to the last crumb.
  • Blueberry Crumb Cake: Moist and fluffy blueberry cake topped with a crunchy crumb topping.
  • Marshmallow Strawberry Mousse: The addition of marshmallows to this strawberry mousse makes it irresistibly sweet, smooth, and creamy. 
  • Blueberry Glaze: Made with only blueberries and powdered sugar, this thick and sweet glaze tops muffins, cakes, waffles, and more.
  • Lemon Raspberry Muffins: Sweet, lemony, and bursting with flavor, these one-bowl lemon raspberry muffins are a refreshing twist on the classic lemon poppy seed combination. This recipe is simple to make and makes perfectly domed tops and soft, crumbly interiors you find in bakery cases.
  • Eton Mess (Strawberry, Cream, and Meringue Trifle): This quick and easy traditional English dessert is made from a mixture of whipped cream, strawberries, and meringue – either layered as a trifle or mixed together into a delicious mess. 

Leave a comment below if you have any questions about how to freeze fresh berries. This post contains affiliate links to products I receive commissions on.

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