Wednesday, February 4, 2009
In addition to freezing pre-cooked meals, I find it helpful to pick a day of the week to pre-chop and pre-measure ingredients for later meals. I find preparing some of my ingredients in advance helps to keep things organized, plus it saves time and money. Below are a few cooking time-savers I find helpful when it comes time to preparing a meal.
Freeze onions: I add onions to many meals. But I don’t like chopping them, they make me cry :(. So I usually buy a bunch, chop them all at once, and then freeze them for later use. There’s no need to blanch them, just wash, peel, chop and store into freezer bags. This method can be used to freeze Bell or Sweet Peppers too. Just be sure to remove the seeds, wash, chop and store. *And of course there are many other veggies that can be frozen ahead of time too, just be sure to research food preservation for the appropriate details for freezing each vegetable. If the vegetables won’t be consumed within three months, they may require blanching before freezing.
Freeze Herbs: I love the taste of fresh parsley and the aroma when I chop it. So I usually buy a lot of parsley. It's easy to freeze. Just wash it, chop and store into ice cube trays. Each cube should be about a tablespoon of Parsley, and then top each cube with a little water to preserve your herbs. I like to keep the herbs in the trays, so I cover them with plastic wrap and store for later use. But if you prefer, once frozen solid, you can take the cubes out of the tray and put them into air-tight freezer bags. *If you’re freezing more than one type of herb, be sure to label your bags (since the herbs will all look similar when frozen). Some herbs may not freeze well, so be sure to do your research first.
A quick option to traditional freezing is “tray freezing”. Before freezing your veggies and herbs, you could place a single layer of the items onto a cookie sheet, freeze, and then transfer into air-tight freezer bags.
Be sure to squeeze as much air out of plastic freezer bags before freezing, this will help prevent freezer burn.
Packaged Dry Mixes: here are a few easy Dry Mix Recipes from The Vegetarian Resource Group. Many dry mixes can be stored in air-tight containers or bags in a cool dry place. Be sure to label them, and place a date on them. Many dry mixes will keep well for a few weeks, but I like to use them within a week. *So be sure to research food preservation for the appropriate details for storing homemade dry mixes.
Related info: Here are a few tips to Keep Food Fresh Longer
For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out Rocks in my Dryer.