The strawberry season never seems to last long enough for my homestead! So in order for me to enjoy strawberries year-round I had to learn how to preserve them on the homestead. I learned many unique ways to preserve strawberries over the years. Today I am sharing some of those ways with you!
Preserving food is so important to the self-reliant homestead. It allows us to enjoy the harvests long after the season has ended. From canning to dehydrating to fermenting and freezing, there are so many ways to practice preserving.
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Preserve Strawberries by Freezing
The easiest way to preserve strawberries is to freeze them. Frozen strawberries are great to have them on hand for smoothies and baked goodies! Because strawberries break down during the freezing period, they don’t exactly make the best “finger snacks” when thawed.
How to Freeze Strawberries
Freezing strawberries is fairly easy and there are a few ways to do so. Before freezing them, first, rinse them well and let them sit in a strainer for a few minutes.
I don’t recommend leaving them in a bowl of water or a filled up sink. They tend to absorb the water which can make them feel mushy.
Once they are rinsed allow them to dry or pat them dry with a clean towel. Once dry you can hull them and remove any damaged spots you find.
At this point, I simply cut the strawberries in half. Then I lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
When the cookie sheet is full I place them in the freezer until they are solid. I then slide them off the tray and place them into Ziplock baggies. If you do not own a vacuum sealer you can use a straw to suck the air out as much as possible. Then mark each bag and freeze.
Special Note About Freezing
If you seal your berries as I do, you might want to smush them a bit so there is some juice in the bag. You can also add a small amount of sugar to keep the strawberries from becoming to dry and getting a bit frostbitten. This is especially true when freezing the strawberries whole. When using a vacuum sealer this isn’t necessary.
Preserve Strawberries with Dehydration
When it comes to finding ways to preserve strawberries, dehydrating strawberries opens a whole new avenue for options. You can powder them once dehydrated and add the powder to smoothies and sugar. Dehydrated strawberries make great snacks. You can also rehydrate them fairly easily too.
How to Dehydrate Strawberries
Dehydrating strawberries is so simple! Just wash your strawberries to make sure they are clean. Then cut off the tops and hull them. I have a strawberry huller which makes the process so simple! Once they are cleaned, cut and hulled, let them sit on a dish towel to dry a bit.
Once your prepared strawberries are dry, slice them in about 1/4″ pieces. Lay these pieces on your trays for the dehydrator. Make sure to leave a little space around each slice.
Each dehydrator may be different, but I have an Excalibur dehydrator so I set my temp to 135 degrees and let them dehydrate about 14 or so hours.
We like to eat the slices just like they come out. You can dry them more if you choose. We like them slightly pliable.
I place mine in a ziplock bag and use a straw to remove as much air as possible. I can’t tell you how long they last because we eat so many of them quickly!
How to Make Strawberry Powder
You can also turn those strawberries into a powder which can be used in many ways! Simply take the dehydrated strawberries and add them to a food processor until they turn to powder.
A coffee bean grinder works amazing for turning dried fruits into powders! Powdered fruit is a great way to preserve strawberries for use in so many dishes and desserts! And it is great on ice cream or in smoothies too.
How to Make Strawberry Fruit Leather
Fruit leather is the same concept as those commercial fruit rollups you buy in the supermarkets. They are definitely much healthier though! And the process to make them is so super simple too!
The recipe I use uses 2 cups of pureed strawberries, tops and all, and 1 and 1/2 cups of cinnamon applesauce. I simply blend the two together and pour over pre-oiled sheets in my dehydrator about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
You can use coconut oil to keep them from sticking. The thinner the mixture the crispier, and the thicker the softer and more pliable.
Make sure you pour the mixture evenly, though. This allows it to dry evenly. Turn your dehydrator to about 135 degrees and dehydrate for about 8 hours. It can take up to 10 hours if you pour it thicker. Store as rolled logs in a ziplock baggie.
Preserve Strawberries with Canning
There are unlimited recipes for canning on the internet! And strawberries are actually a lot of fun to can! Check out the Ball Complete Book of Canning from Amazon for a great way to learn how to preserve strawberries!
Place 1 cup of strawberries in an 8-quart heavy pot. Use a potato masher to crush the strawberries.
Continue adding and crushing the strawberries until you have added 12 cups of strawberries. At this point, you should be able to measure about 5 cups of mashed berries.
Stir in 12ounces of powdered fruit pectin and 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Stirring constantly, let the mixture come to a rolling boil.
Add 7 cups of sugar and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow a hard boil for a minute. Remove from heat and skim off the top with a metal spoon.
Ladle into hot 1/2 pint jars leaving 1/4″ headspace, wipe rims and adjust lids.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
In a large bowl, crush about 4 cups of strawberries. Add 5 cups of sugar and 1/2 tsp of lemon peel, stir to combine. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.
In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup of water and 1 1.75oz box of fruit pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, allow to hard boil 1 minute, then remove from heat.
Add pectin mixture to the crushed berries, and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. The mixture should not be grainy.
Spoon into 1/2 pint jars with about 1/2″ space at the top. Seal the jars and allow them to set at room temperature for 24 hours.
These can be stored for 3 weeks in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer. Makes 5 1/2 pints.
Preserve Strawberries by Making Wine
While I have never mad homemade wine myself, (yet), I just had to include the idea here. Check out the instructions from Practical Self Reliance on How To Make Strawberry Wine.
Preserve Strawberries by Making Strawberry Vinegar
Wash your strawberries first. Cut up or smash the strawberries in a bowl. You will use 1 to 2 cups of smashed fruit per pint of vinegar.
Add the mashed berries into sterilized jars. Heat your vinegar to just below the boiling point, around 190 degrees. (apple cider vinegar is best for this recipe)
Pour the hot vinegar over the mashed strawberries, leave about 1/2″ headspace. Wipe the rims and seal the jars.
Allow your jars to sit undisturbed until they are completely cool.
Let the jars sit a minimum of 10 days. The longer they sit the more the flavor intensifies, up to 4 weeks.
Now you have a few ways you can preserve strawberries on your homestead so that you can enjoy them year-round! Do you have other recipes or ways of preserving strawberries? Please share them in the comments below!
Be sure to learn how to grow, care, and harvest strawberries on your homestead in my post How To Grow Strawberries.