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Strawberries burst in your mouth with their potent, unmistakable berry flavor.
They carry the taste of summer into your pies, cakes, and yogurt parfaits.
Strawberries taste amazing, but they don’t have a very long shelf life.
Have you ever picked up a carton of strawberries from your local farmers’ market only to have it mold a couple of days later? That’s the worst!
However, you can vacuum seal strawberries to preserve them for future use.
With proper storage, you can easily enjoy strawberries in the weeks and months after they’re picked.
Vacuum sealing strawberries is a great way to save a slice of summer for later in the year.
How to prepare strawberries for vacuum sealing
Storing strawberries may sound simple, but there’s a lot of thought that goes into the preparation.
Let’s try to answer some of these common questions about storing strawberries.
Should you wash strawberries before storing?
Strawberries are one of the hardest hit fruits when it comes to pesticides and herbicides.
Obviously, you want to wish them before use, but should you wash them before storing them?
No you should not!
Instead, wait to wash strawberries until after you remove them from storage.
To preserve the delicate integrity of strawberries, wash them right before use.
If you wash them before vacuum sealing, they are likely to become mush and decompose much quicker than if you simply wait to wash them later.
Should you remove the stems before storing strawberries?
Similarly, do not remove stems before vacuum sealing strawberries.
As soon as the stem is removed from the berry, it begins decomposing.
You can keep strawberries fresh for longer if you simply leave the stems attached during storage.
When you remove the strawberries from storage, remove the stems and thoroughly wash the berries to remove contaminants.
Should you slice strawberries before storage?
The answer to these questions depends on the length of time that you want to store the strawberries.
If you just want to keep them fresh for a few days, it’s probably fine to cut them.
Cutting strawberries in advance can save you time and hassle later, but it also causes them to break down much faster.
So, if you want to store strawberries for more than a week, store them whole.
Wait to slice them until you remove them from the vacuum sealed bags.
How to vacuum seal strawberries
Vacuum sealing strawberries can help you save fresh fruit for the dreary winter months when strawberries are nowhere in sight.
To properly vacuum seal strawberries, you actually need to freeze them first.
Freezing strawberries helps keep them fresh for much longer than if you simply vacuum seal berries straight from the plant.
To freeze strawberries, grab your favorite baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
Brush large pieces of dirt and debris off the strawberries, but do not wash them at this point.
Remove any molded berries from the bushel, and spread the rest evenly across the surface.
Make sure that they don’t touch; keep at least a quarter inch of open space between the berries.
Once you’ve arranged them, place them in the freezer until they are hard.
Portion berries into the amounts that you want to freeze, and add them to a vacuum seal bag.
Clean the outside of the bag to remove any miscellaneous dirt and dust to ensure an unobstructed seal.
Also, make sure that the bag is dry. Blot it dry using a paper towel if necessary.
Moisture will speed up the degradation process, causing your strawberries to expire before their time.
Also, water droplets prevent the bag from sealing entirely, allowing air to invade.
Leave about a half inch of space at the top to allow the bag to seal well.
Then, just follow the instructions on yoru vacuum sealer.
When the bag is sealed, label it clearly, and place it in the freezer.
If properly vacuum sealed, strawberries will keep for up to a year.
When you want to eat the strawberries, cut the bag open and wash them well. While there’s no harm in eating the stem and leaves, some people do not enjoy the taste.
If you’re putting the strawberries into a smoothie or another dish where the leavy flavor will disappear, you’re ready to add them to the recipe at this point!
However, if you’re going for a cleaner flavor profile, remove the leaves and core the strawberries.
You can choose to let them thaw or cut them while they’re still frozen.
If they are frozen, slightly thawing them may be beneficial and might make your job easier.
Frozen strawberries are a tasty, healthy addition to smoothies and other cold desserts. You can even add them to ice cream!
You can bake with them, too.
Just plan to leave your dessert in the oven for a few minutes longer.
If you’re using frozen strawberries, be mindful that they’ll add liquid to your recipe as they thaw.
Compensate for this by adding slightly less liquid in other steps to avoid a soggy bottom on your dessert!
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