How to preserve strawberries

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve strawberries” and discuss the methods used to preserve strawberries.

How to preserve strawberries

The United States produces almost 20% of the world strawberry crop and leads the world in production per unit area. The farm gate economic value of strawberries has been between $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion during the past 3 years (2014-2017) (1).

Strawberries can be preserved by:

  • Refrigerating
  • Freezing
  • Dehydrating
  • Making jams and sauces
  • Making strawberry fruit leather

Strawberries are best when they are eaten fresh. Freshly harvested strawberries must be eaten within 3 days. Strawberries do not preserve at room temperature and they must be refrigerated or frozen to preserve freshness. They can also be preserved using other methods such as dehydration and making jam.

How to preserve strawberries by refrigerating

In fresh produce, ascorbic acid begins to degrade quickly soon after the produce is harvested. Refrigeration helps to slow this degradation. Frozen storage is effective in preserving ascorbic acid (2).

Refrigerating will preserve strawberries for about 1 week. In a study, fresh strawberries were stored at 2°C (35.6°F) for 10 days with little losses on the levels of vitamin C, tocopherol and beta-carotene (2).

To refrigerate strawberries:

  • Sort through the strawberries and remove bruised and moldy ones.
  • Wash in running water and dry well using a paper towel.
  • Trim off the stems.
  • Place the strawberries in an airtight container, label and refrigerate.

How to preserve strawberries by freezing

Freezing is one of the easiest, quickest, most versatile and most convenient methods of preserving foods. Properly frozen foods maintain more of their original color, flavor and texture and generally more of their nutrients than foods preserved by other methods (3).

Freezing is the best method to preserve strawberries in their original flavor. Frozen strawberries will last for about 8 to 12 months, when packed in sugar or syrup and about 3-6 months when packed without sugar or liquid (3). There are different methods to freeze strawberries. 

  • Freezing whole strawberries: Place whole strawberries with the stem trimmed off in a ziplock bag. Frozen whole strawberries are best when used within 2 months. After that, they may begin to lose flavor.
  • Freezing cut-up strawberries in sugar: Wash strawberries, trim the stems and cut them in half and mix with sugar. Freezing strawberries in sugar will preserve them for 8 – 12 months.
  • Freezing pureed strawberries: Wash strawberries, trim the stems and hull the strawberries. Blend the strawberries with lemon juice and sugar. Freeze the puree in airtight containers or freezer bags. Frozen strawberry puree must be used within 6 months.

When frozen strawberries are thawed, they will lose their texture and become mushy. This is caused by the water inside the cells expanding during freezing and damaging the cell wall. Frozen strawberries are best used in pies, smoothies and baking recipes. 

How to preserve strawberries by dehydrating

Strawberries can be dehydrated in several ways such as by using a food dehydrator, oven, and sun-drying. Dehydrated strawberries can be enjoyed as a healthy snack on their own or added to trail mix or cereals.

After dehydration, the strawberries must be stored in an airtight container. Dehydrated strawberries can also be frozen after dehydration to extend their shelf-life. Frozen dehydrated strawberries will retain their flavor for about 6 to 12 months (4) .

Pretreating fruits prior to drying is highly recommended. Pretreating helps keep light-colored fruits from darkening during drying and storage and it speeds the drying of fruits with tough skins, such as grapes and cherries (4).

How to preserve strawberries by making jams and sauces

One of the thermal preservation techniques applied to fruits is jam–marmalade production. This process combines some physical preservation techniques together which are pasteurization, concentration and water activity control. Pasteurization is a mild heat technique under 100°C to kill pathogen bacteria and spoilage organisms as yeast and molds and inactivate enzymes while causing minimal loss on nutritional and sensory properties of food. This method makes food safe for several days under 4 °C (5).

Strawberry jams and sauces are delicious and can be eaten with waffles, bread, pancakes. 

Strawberries can be made into both jams and sauces. Both strawberry jams and sauces can be homemade and require few ingredients. Partly bruised and damaged strawberries can also be used when making jam or sauce after the bruised part is discarded.

  • Strawberry jam: There are various recipes for strawberry jam. Jams can be made using just strawberries or by combining with another berry such as raspberry or blueberry. Home-made strawberry jam can be preserved for about 1 year at room temperature if it is canned into sterile jars (6). The jam must be refrigerated once it is opened.

This recipe explains how to make strawberry jam from just 3 ingredients, strawberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice.

  • Strawberry sauce: Strawberry sauce is made by cooking strawberries in a mixture of lemon juice, sugar, water, vanilla and cornstarch.

Strawberry sauce can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about 1 week. The strawberry sauce can also be canned for long term preservation.

How to preserve strawberries by making strawberry fruit leather

Fruit leather, also known as fruit bar or restructured fruit, is a product in the form of a pliable strip or sheet obtained by thin-layer drying of fruit pulp, with or without the incorporation of additives (7).

Fruit leather is a fruit roll made by drying or baking pureed fruit. Strawberry fruit leather is made by blending hulled strawberries with sugar and lemon juice and then baking the mixture at 170 degrees for about 3 hours until the stickiness is gone.

Strawberry fruit leather will preserve for about 2 weeks when refrigerated. 

In a study, strawberry leather had a shelf life of 53 when stored in absence of light and moisture (22.5% RH with no illumination) (7). 

Extending the shelf-life of strawberries 

The below methods will help to extend the shelf-life of strawberries regardless of the preservation method used.

  • Sorting through and removing spoiled strawberries: Mold spreads very quickly in strawberries. It is important to sort through and discard any moldy and spoiled strawberries before preserving them. 
  • Removing moisture: Moisture will cause spoilage in refrigerated and frozen strawberries. If strawberries are washed, they must be wiped down with a paper towel before storage. 
  • Spraying with vinegar water: Spraying fresh strawberries with vinegar water  (1 part vinegar and 2 parts water) will remove the microbes on the surface of the strawberries and preserve them for longer. However, they must be properly dried with a paper towel after washing.

In a study, acetic acid or vinegar vapor was effective in preventing conidia of brown rot, gray mold, and blue mold from germinating and causing decay of stone fruit, strawberries, and apples (8). 

Other FAQs about Strawberries that you may be interested in.

How long does it take for strawberries to sprout

Can you eat moldy strawberries?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve strawberries” and discussed in depth the main methods used to preserve strawberries. 

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


  1. Samtani, Jayesh B., et al. The status and future of the strawberry industry in the United States. HortTechnol, 2019, 29, 11-24. 
  2. Bouzari, Ali, Dirk Holstege, and Diane M. Barrett. Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. J agric food chem, 2015, 63, 957-962.  
  3. Garden-Robinson, Julie. Food freezing guide. 2004. North Dakota State University.
  4. Kendall, Pat, and J. Sofos. Drying fruits. Food and nutrition series. Preparation; 2007, 9.309.
  5. Başaran, Anıl, Tuncay Yilmaz, and Can Çivi. Energy and exergy analysis of induction-assisted batch processing in food production: a case study—strawberry jam production. J Therm Anal Calor, 2020, 140, 1871-1882.
  6. Wright, M.L. Making Jams and Jellies. 2021. University of Illinois.
  7. da Silva Simão R, de Moraes JO, Lopes JB, Frabetti ACC, Carciofi BAM, Laurindo JB. Survival Analysis to Predict How Color Influences the Shelf Life of Strawberry Leather. Foods. 2022, 11, 218.
  8. Wang, C. Y. Reducing chilling injury and maintaining quality of horticultural crops with natural products and their derivatives. IV International Conference on Managing Quality in Chains-The Integrated View on Fruits and Vegetables Quality 712. 2006.