This time of year, you’ll be hard pressed to find good quality fresh strawberries at the grocery store. If you do, you end up paying a premium for strawberries that have been flown in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. California and Florida product most of the commercial strawberries in the US. While the strawberry growing season in these states runs from January to November, peak season is April through June. Outside of these months, the berries you find in supermarkets tend to be priced higher, and taste less sweet.

So how do you enjoy the sweet flavor of summer berries all year long? Make use of frozen strawberries.

Why Go Frozen

Frozen strawberries are flash-frozen as soon as they are picked, locking in the vitamins and minerals. This makes them just as nutritious as fresh, if not more so. The minute a berry is picked, it starts to lose nutritional value. In the winter months the fresh berries in the grocery store have been transported a long distance and may have less than 50% of the original nutrients. By choosing frozen strawberries you’ll be getting more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Strawberry Benefits

Strawberries are packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Just one serving of strawberries – eight berries – provides more vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also a good source of potassium, folate, fiber, and polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.

Freezing Strawberries

The best time to freeze your own strawberries is during peak berry season, from April to June. Buy a few extra quarts and freeze them to keep for the winter months. First hull the berries by removing the stem and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put them in the freezer overnight, or until they are solid, then transfer them to a plastic storage bag or container. Frozen strawberries will keep up to six months. You can also purchase pre-frozen berries, look for brands with just one ingredient – strawberries.

How to Use Frozen Strawberries

Here are six of my favorite ways to use frozen strawberries.

  1. Put them in a smoothie or milkshake. Try this Clementine Strawberry Smoothie.
  2. Make strawberry “nice” cream. A great alternative to ice cream, frozen blended berries make a creamy and naturally sweet dessert. Try Strawberry-Banana Frozen Yogurt or Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Sherbet.
  3. Bake strawberry muffins. Frozen berries work well in baked goods like muffins or quick breads, like these Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins.
  4. Make strawberry jam. Once you try fresh strawberry jam, you won’t be going back to the canned stuff that’s full of sugar. Use it on toast, sandwiches, or in oatmeal and yogurt parfaits. This 3-ingredient Strawberry Chia Jam is simple and quick.
  5. Bake a fruit cobbler. There’s no need to thaw the berries before baking, so recipes like Triple Berry Cobbler or Very Berry Cobbler come together in just minutes.
  6. Cook them down into a sauce. This Simple Fruit Compote is the perfect topping for pancakes, waffles, and even chicken.

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