"Not that strawberries are all that hard to chop," acknowledged a small sidebar accompanying a recipe for Strawberry Pie in a May 1991 issue of The Baking Sheet, a print newsletter that was sent to loyal King Arthur subscribers in the days before the internet. "But if you find the job tedious, or need berries chopped quite finely, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and set the sheet in the freezer. When berries are frozen through, chop them in a food processor, as coarsely or as finely as needed." 

Lightbulb moment! With loads of gorgeous berries at the farmers’ market, I knew I had to try this genius baking tip for chopping berries. Because honestly, berries are tedious to chop. Fully ripe, delicate specimens can get crushed from overhandling (or when cut with a dull knife), plus it can be time-consuming to get them diced into small pieces for a recipe like Strawberries & Cream Scones. And what if you want to freeze berries for baking in the fall and winter, but don’t want to take the time to chop them beforehand?  

To try out the technique, I dug out an old stash of whole, hulled frozen strawberries from last summer (I knew they’d come in handy one day) and hauled out my food processor. Unsurprisingly, this tip works beautifully, resulting in extra-fine berry pieces that would have taken me ages to chop by hand.  

Chopping Berries Sheet Pan Frozen Photography by Danielle Sykes; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Planning ahead pays off! Freeze those berries on a sheet pan to avoid clumping.

For best results, and to prevent clumping, I spread my fresh hulled berries in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet before placing in the freezer. This step prevents the berries from sticking to the pan (and one another), plus it makes it easy to add them to the food processor by simply lifting the parchment and making a funnel to slide them into the processor bowl. 

From there, a quick whir in the food processor results in evenly chopped berries, particularly if you’re going for something on the small side. It’s also great for delicate and hard-to-chop raspberries or extra-juicy blackberries. The crucial step is the freezing; if you were to simply place fresh berries in the food processor, you'd get mush instead of distinct chunks. 

Chopping Berries Food Processor Complete Photography by Danielle Sykes; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
The food processor helps get berries chopped quite small. Just don't go too far, or you'll be left with sorbet! 

One note: If you process the frozen berries too much, they’ll become more like a smoothie or sorbet. Pulse the processor for a few seconds at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t get overprocessed. You may also end up with a few large berries that don't get fully chopped. If that happens, simply remove from the bunch.  

Finely chopped frozen berries can be folded into scones or biscuits, added to whipped cream for a pink-hued garnish, baked into sugar cookies, or even turned into jam. And because they’re frozen, the berries are less likely to stain your batters and dough with pink or purple streaks.   

Your freezer can be your best baking friend. Check out our Cookie Dough Freezer Tray and our Pizza and Burger Freezer Tray for fresh-baked goods any time you want them.   

Cover photo by Danielle Skyes; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne. 

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Strawberries & Cream Scones
Strawberries & Cream Scones
4.4 out of 5 stars 79 Reviews
Total
27 mins
Yield
8 to 18 scones, depending on size
Tagged:
Filed Under: Tips and Techniques
Rossi crimping pie crust
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About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
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