Follow these simple steps to preserve your summer bounty
How to freeze strawberries
Credit: Annabelle Breakey

Whether they're just picked from the garden, bought at your local farmers' market, or picked up at the supermarket, one thing is true about fresh strawberries: they have a short shelf life. Even when stored in the refrigerator, they will only last three to four days before they start to wrinkle or turn moldy. (Got less-than-perfect strawberries? Try roasting them, or turn them into berry butter or a fruity vinaigrette.)

The best way to preserve extra strawberries before they go bad is to freeze them. But you can't just toss them into a ziplock bag and call it a day. That will result in a large, icy, boulder-like cluster of berries. Instead, flash-freeze the berries so that they don't stick together, which allows you to use as many as you'd like. Flash-freezing also prevents those pesky ice crystals from forming.

Here's how to do it:

1. Wash and dry the fruit

Make sure the berries are as dry as possible before you freeze them. Let them sit on a layer of paper towels and blot off any extra moisture.

2. Hull the berries

Once they are dry, remove the tops and white centers. You can leave them whole or slice them.

3. Spread them out

Place the berries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread them out so that they do not touch.

4. Freeze until solid

Depending on the size and shape of your berries, this may take 30 minutes to an hour.

5. Transfer to a ziplock freezer bag

Remove the frozen berries from the parchment and place in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze until you are ready to use the berries. Once defrosted, they will soften and release juice, so they are best used in smoothies or cooked in recipes.