Craving strawberries much after the strawberry season is over? Need these tart, juicy berries to get you through a scorching summer? But wait, are these frozen beauties safe to eat?
They may make lovely popsicle-like fruity bites, but should you be extra careful? This article explores the dos and don’ts of eating these delicious delights.
Are frozen strawberries as good as fresh?
Frozen strawberries are just as good if not better nutritionally than fresh strawberries. Frozen strawberries are usually flash frozen as soon as they are freshly picked or harvested. This means that crucial nutrients like Vitamin C are retained for longer periods of time.
In fresh strawberries, the nutrient content will begin to decline soon after harvesting. This means that by the time you eat it at room temperature, it would have lost some of its nutritional content. The only issue with frozen strawberries is that the texture might be different upon thawing.
Fresh strawberries might be more firm and ripe when harvested in season. But thawing frozen berries harvested out of season may make them a bit squidgy.
Are frozen strawberries safe to eat?
Most times, frozen strawberries are safe to eat. But over the years there have been increasing incidences of recalls of frozen strawberries and other frozen fruits. In rare instances, the person harvesting the fruit may have an infection.
These infections like Hepatitis B or norovirus have contaminated the fruit. Consuming contaminated frozen strawberries could lead to you contracting these illnesses. But the chances are slim, especially since frozen strawberries are acidic which staves off bacterial growth.
Moreover, regulatory authorities such as the U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do test batches to rule out any contamination.
If you want to be extra careful, boil the berries in 85-100 degrees Celsius water before consuming them. Mere rinsing of the strawberries is not effective enough at removing germs.
Do frozen strawberries have added calories or sugar?
Some frozen strawberry brands do contain added sugar. But most unsweetened, natural brands don’t have any additives. Unsweetened brands have about 60-80 calories in one cup, thawed or otherwise.
Those with added sugar may go up to 245 calories. They may be harvested out of season and so sugar is added to give them a taste.
Flash frozen strawberries have a more concentrated sweetness because the water content is removed. But the method of freezing only intensifies the taste; there is no added sugar. Make sure to check the brand label for added sugar, if you’re looking for the most authentic version.
Do frozen strawberries contain worms or bugs?
Freshly plucked strawberries may contain maggots which are larvae of a fruit fly called SWD ( Spotted Wing Drosophila). These may infest a particular strawberry patch or harvest if they are not treated properly.
But the freezing process removes most remnants of the bugs that crawl into the fruit by burrowing through the skin. In any case, the freezing process is usually preceded by thorough washing.
Nevertheless, if the TikTok trend has scared you, you can take steps to allay your mind. You could wash the berries in some water again although salt water can alter the taste. Or you could heat them up to 85-100 degrees Celsius to kill any pests.
You can also buy kosher frozen strawberries, in which special care is taken by the mashgiach to remove any living insects or pests. The strawberries would be labeled as hechsher if the strawberries complied with these standards.
Are frozen strawberries safe for pregnant women?
Pregnant and nursing mothers should opt for fresh strawberries rather than frozen ones. While frozen strawberries also retain essential vitamins and minerals for a long period, they are also preserved.
There may be preservatives or additives to increase the shelf-life. These could be toxic to the unborn baby. So stick to fresh in-season strawberries where possible for your daily Vitamin C fix.
They are rich in folic acid, iron, and potassium that help boost you and your baby’s immune system.
Are frozen strawberries safe for babies?
You can use the frozen strawberries to make a puree or a mash alone or with other fruits and vegetables. Don’t give them fully frozen strawberries since it is too cold for them. Shards of ice or solid fruit are also a choking hazard.
But you can fully thaw frozen strawberries. These are quite squishy, easy to bite, and soft. So they are a safe treat for small kids. If your child is younger than 6 months, stick to fresh fruit which is thoroughly washed and prepared at home as per your baby’s needs.
Are frozen strawberries safe for dogs?
It is perfectly safe to feed your pooch a few strawberries once in a while. Make sure it’s not frozen solid, because dogs can scuffle it down and choke. Frozen strawberries can also be given in puree or smoothie form for your dog to slurp down.
They should only snack on frozen strawberries in moderation. These should also not contain any added sugar. Excess consumption can cause diarrhea in dogs due to high levels of fiber or sugar. But it isn’t toxic or hazardous in any way.
Are frozen strawberries safe for diabetics?
Frozen strawberries are a healthy sweet treat for those suffering from diabetes. Frozen strawberries can be eaten as they are. They are high in fiber and low in sugar compared to other fruits.
But it needs to be eaten in moderation even though it has a low glycemic index. This means the sugars are broken down and absorbed into the body slowly. But too much of them can cause a temporary spike in blood glucose levels.
Make sure to buy the unsweetened varieties, because added sugar and syrup take away all the benefits of the fruit.
Can I use frozen strawberries for weight loss?
Frozen strawberries can help you lose weight. These fruits are low in calories, sugar, and carbs. So They also have lots of fiber which aids in digestion. Proper bowel movement helps promote weight loss.
You can use frozen strawberries in smoothies. You can also snack on them while avoiding other high-carb, processed munchies.
One cup of strawberries has only about 47 calories. Strawberries also contain two compounds called adiponectin and leptin which stimulate metabolism and fat burning.
So integrating strawberries into your diet can give a fillip to your weight loss goals. Frozen strawberries also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which bring down bloating and belly fat.
Thawing and refreezing frozen strawberries
Depending on how much time you have on your hands, there are a few ways to defrost your strawberries. If you need them immediately and don’t mind them going soft and jammy, stick them in the microwave.
About 2 minutes in the microwave will completely remove all the ice. But the strawberries will not hold their shape.
If you want some bites to remain, then gradually defrost them over 8 hours. Transfer them from the freezer to the fridge. If you don’t have eight hours, leave the berries in the fridge for a while. Then wash them in cold water for half an hour to one hour.
Once you’re done remove any excess air from the bag of frozen strawberries. Seal it well and place it inside another Ziploc bag or airtight container.
Keep in mind that once thawed outside at room temperature, the frozen strawberries will not hold their shape or taste for much longer than 2-3 days.
If the strawberries were thawing in the fridge, they may train their integrity for more than a week. When re-freezing, place the box or packet at the back of the fridge. This helps keep it fresh and icy for longer.
If you thaw your fruits for the second or third time it is best to consume them immediately. Refreezing repeatedly will have a mushy consistency that isn’t enjoyable, unless whipped into a smoothie form. Or jam!
How to use frozen strawberries?
The uses for frozen strawberries are a dime a dozen. Smoothies galore, in which you can add them frozen, thawed, or washed. You can use them in pies and desserts like scones.
You can blitz and blend them into ice cream or drinks. You can also make refreshing popsicles by just adding water and maybe some other fruits! You can also use thawed strawberries, mash them and add stabilizers or gelatin to make compotes, marmalades, and even jelly.
If you’re adding them frozen, you don’t need to wash them. If you are thawing them. Washing can get rid of grime or ice shards if any.
How long do frozen strawberries last?
Unopened, most frozen strawberry brands can last from 6 months to a year. In essence, when frozen they can last for a very long time. But the best before or expiration date on the batch label indicates the timeframe for the best quality.
They can be eaten even after the expiry date, without fear of any poisoning or illness. But they may taste a little rancid and watery, feel very squishy, and may also be discolored. Repeated thawing and refreezing will also reduce the shelf-life dramatically.
In the mood for some strawberry-rhubarb pie or a strawberry granita? Go out and buy a pack armed with the information that we’ve dished out!
I am Anand, and I am a business owner and consultant in my day job. I have spent years studying what’s inside the products we buy. ‘Feedrer’ is a wordplay on you-know-who and talks about all things food.