Frugal Foodie Mama: Foodie on a Budget- Don't Toss That! Freeze it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Foodie on a Budget- Don't Toss That! Freeze it!

How many times are you finding yourself tossing out that bunch of wilted herbs you bought for a few snippets the week before?  Or tossing out that container of chiles in adobo sauce when you only needed one a few weeks before for a recipe?  I think I have been guilty of those things more times than I can stand.  If you happen to own a blender, an ice cube tray,  and a freezer, then you are in luck!  Here are a few ways to preserve some of those leftover culinary must-haves and waste no more.

Saving cut herbs is easy!  If you haven't used them all up within 3 or 4 days of purchasing them, then blend with a little bit of water and freeze them.  I had some leftover parsley and just blended it with a little bit of water and poured into an ice cube tray.  When you need parsley for a soup or sauce, just pop out one of the cubes and let it melt as you are cooking.  You can do this with just about any leafy herb- basil, oregano, cilantro, sage...

I often end up using chiles in adobo sauce for some of my favorite Latin recipes.  Problem is you usually only need one chile and a few tablespoons of the sauce for each recipe.  I would take the remaining chiles and sauce and place them in a storage container in the fridge determined to use them before they went bad in a couple of weeks.  About 100% of the time, that never happened.  So, now after I have opened the can and used what I needed for my recipe, I immediately toss the remaining chiles and sauce in my handy blender.  I blend until smooth and then spoon out into an ice cube tray. 

Once they are frozen hard, I pop out the chile cubes (and/or the parsley cubes) and store in a freezer bag (separately, of course!).  Be sure to label and date the bag so you always know how long they have been hanging out in the freezer.  These cubes will stay good for MONTHS frozen. With the chile cubes, you can choose to defrost them in the fridge before cooking or just add them to your sauce frozen as it is simmering and let them melt in.

Note:  One chile cube is about the equivalent of one chile and two tablespoons of adobo sauce.