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Ask a cook: Frozen berries won’t look like fresh ones

Q: I make a strawberry pie in the spring or summer with fresh, whole berries on top. Is there a way I can freeze fresh strawberries and use my frozen berries to make a pie months later?

A: Unfortunately, no method of freezing will get the result you want. Fruit is loaded with water. When it freezes, the ice crystals burst the internal cell walls, so the thawed fruit is very soft and has a consistency similar to cooked fruit.

Instead of topping your pie with out-of-season fresh strawberries that have less flavor, use frozen berries to make a strawberry sauce, called a coulis, that you could drizzle on the pie. Cook the thawed berries with a little sugar (maybe ½ cup sugar to 1 cup of berries) and the juice of half a lemon. Puree it and strain it to remove the seeds. You’ll still have a pretty pie and it will taste even better.

Send questions about cooking and food to Kathleen Purvis at kpurvischarlotteobserver.com

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