Strawberries have recently become widely popular in India, and easily available in the cooler months of northern India. There were times when I remember these were luxury possessions available only in gourmet stores, or we felt super lucky if some one travelling from Mumbai would get us a box of these beauties.
I usually saw them in my store bought jam in recipe books for all my childhood and would fancy them as a baker , in my college days.
With revolution in agriculture and marketing scene, I have been seeing them widely available at a nominal price at local vendors in the winter months. And as I love the flavour the strawberries lend to almost any of my bake, or desserts, I like to have enough of them for summer months, lest I need to get a tinned preserve or frozen strawberries from the market, which will be the last resort to their non availability as I usually stick to seasonal produce, when in comes to cooking.
To keep them handy I start collecting them much ahead of receding winters, as the summers approach, though they are available in the market till late March but the chances are they are a bit mouldy or non firm, which are not a good option to store as they will be a waste of effort and spoil easily.
There are many ways they can be stored, but I stick to freezing method and make a strawberry preserve. Frozen ones come handy once the preserve is over, as they can be made into almost anything, used in cakes, desserts, mock tails, or simple smoothie, ice creams, gelatos.
Method to freeze them is simple and quick.
To freeze one needs to get some ripe yet firm strawberries. Identify any mouldy ones and remove them.
Wash and remove the leaves.
Towel dry them with soft hands, and keep them in a tray in the freezer for 3-4 hours till they are hard.
Now store them in zip lock bag in the freezer till you use them.