You've been freezing fresh berries wrong this whole time

There's nothing better than having a few bags of fresh berries stashed away in the freezer because they can be used in so many versatile recipes. But, if you have ever tossed them all in a resealable bag and were disappointed to find them clumped together in a pile of mush, then that's because you froze them wrong. With an extra step or two, there is a better way to keep fresh berries in the freezer, which means they will be even better in your pancakes, smoothies, and more (via Taste of Home).

The best way to freeze fresh berries whole is to first wash them and pat them dry. Next, line the individual berries on a baking sheet and freeze them for a few hours uncovered. This will ensure the berries do not get mushy or freeze all stuck together. Once each berry is frozen, place them inside a freezer-friendly resealable plastic bag or another airtight container, and place them back in the freezer. It's really that simple, though the extra step of freezing them individually does add some time to the overall prep.

Other ways to freeze fresh berries

You can prepare the berries in a few other ways before freezing to tailor them more to the ways you might use them in your cooking or baking. For example, if you know you primarily use frozen berries in baked goods like pancakes, cobblers, and pies, then you can toss the berries in sugar — this will also help them retain their color — after washing and before individually freezing on a baking sheet (via Southern Living).

Another way to prepare the berries before freezing is to slice the berries first. You can also add sugar to the slices, too. If you're planning on using the sliced berries in baked goods, then freeze the slices individually first. But, if you plan to use the strawberries as a layer in a parfait, a topping to a dessert, or even in a smoothie, then you can just spoon the strawberries into the airtight container.

So, however you love to use fresh berries, give some thought to how to prepare them first pre-freezing to make your life easier and avoid wasting perfectly-delicious fruit.