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Sep 1, 2013 10:22 AM

Freezing food in little cubes

I just froze a batch of pesto in an ice tray, and that got me thinking... what else can we make and freeze in ice trays to have handy as little cubes later, to use alone or mix and match? Some come to mind:

- Chicken stock or other stock
- Tomato sauce
- Soups
- Baby food

Anything else?

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  1. Lemon juice.
    Any kind of chopped herbs (add water for cubes--can be used in soups or other dishes)

    4 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      Please say more about how you freeze herbs, With fall coming i would love to use everything growing before a frost kills it.

      1. re: chicgail

        i whiz fresh herbs with olive oil and store them in portions. no other seasonings ( a la pesto). i know some do it just with water but i know oil, once heated, will release the esters while water will not.

      2. re: nofunlatte

        Is it possible to just freeze the herbs as is sort of like when I just put the bay leaves in the freezer in a ziploc bag.

      3. Coffee. Use it for adding to iced coffee so it isn't diluted by water ice cubes. It will likely work for other beverages, too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: travelerjjm

          Just yesterday I used a cube or 2 of frozen leftover coffee in a pot of simmering pinto beans. Add a spoonful of molasses, and you have a wonderful background flavor.

        2. nofunlatte and travelerjjm, these are great ideas!

          1. Duxelles!
            Mushrooms spoil so darned fast and sometimes you just need a little to really make a dish "pop". I always keep several permutations of duxelles in the freezer...soups, pâté, spread on meat, throw in veggies, sauces, etc.
            ...... crimini, big portobello, shitake, chanterelle, button, wild mix, maitake.....mmmmmm.

            1. Sauteed diced onions, with or without garlic

              27 Replies
              1. re: almond tree

                Sauteed onions and especially garlic, that's a great idea. (Slapping hand to head.)

                1. re: JMF

                  I just throw raw garlic in the freezer in a ziplock.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I don't use garlic every day or in huge quantities when I do use it, but I find it lasts fine just sitting out.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Except that it ages and sprouts and flavor degrades.

                      Freezing it helps preserve its flavor.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        I've just not had that experience. I mean unless it's there for a month or more.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          You might not notice but it does degrade in flavor.

                          The freezer preserves that to a large extent but the texture suffers. But since its garlic that rarely matters and sometimes benefits you.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Well, if I don't notice it, then I'll just continue on :)

                            1. re: c oliver

                              For sure!

                              I just bought some of the best garlic ever at the Uniion Sq. farmer's market. I am using a bulb but the other three went in the freezer pronto. I wnat to preserve that flavor!

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                I never really thought about freezing garlic. Do you just throw the bulb right into a baggie, separate into cloves and peel, or what?

                                1. re: nokitchen

                                  I used to separate and peel but now I just separate and freeze. Very easy to peel when thawing under warm water.

                                  I have also frozen whole bulbs but its easier to use when separated.

                            2. re: C. Hamster

                              I've definitely noticed my garlic after a while gets sticky and the flavor is quite pungent and degraded. I used to buy a lot at once and no longer do this because I kept discovering cloves which just weren't good to use and having to go out to get more. I might try the freezing method.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                It unusual for me to buy more than one head at a time unless I'm making some that REALLY garlic-heavy.

                            3. re: c oliver

                              actaully, when i did a side-by-side taste test putting 1/2 of a garlic bulb in the freezer, and leaving the other half out in the air, the stuff that was NOT frozen had much better flavor after a month.

                            4. re: C. Hamster

                              I've had lots of green little sprouts come out of garlic that's been sitting on my counter for a little bit. The thing is, when I buy it at the store it already looks like it's kind of old--so rare to find one that looks fresh. So it doesn't take long for the sprouting.

                              1. re: kmanihot

                                I have the same experience. Most of the garlic at the store is sprouting and dry and I try to pick through to find fresher heads but it's difficult and within a few weeks on the counter they for sure are sprouting.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  I'm like you -- I can barely manage to buy garlic that hasn't sprouted, never mind keep it for more than a week at home. I suspect that if I were to go to the Farmer's Market, I might have better luck but grocery store garlic just doesn't seem to love me.

                                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                                    It's not you I think it's just old crusty stuff. It's finally excited to leave the store or warehouse it's been in for probably months to years and make it's way into our kitchens. This summer the pickings were great, but recently again it's been bad. Now literally 50% of the heads I buy are not only dried but often dry rot.

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      I know! I go to the store week after week thinking they'll replace the supply at some point, but it just looks like the same old heads getting older and older... I'm sure if I could go to a farmer's market or buy a CSA share I would have fresher stuff, but it's not always practical for me.

                                      1. re: kmanihot

                                        My CSA doesn't taste any better when it comes to garlic.

                                        1. re: melpy

                                          Oh, that's too bad. The cured hardneck garlic with reddish skin that's coming in right now from local growers is so tasty that I do as much as I can with it. Also it doesn't keep as well as the white, smaller-cloved heads that arrive later, so the next month or two are the time to revel.

                                    2. re: Jacquilynne

                                      Weird. Maybe it's a Left Coast/Right Coast thing? Right now I have part of three heads all bought at different times (not remembering if I had any, I bought another) over probably a month's time. The bowl I keep non-refrigerated produce in is in a pretty dark and never hot place.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        interesting. Which coast are you in? I've had this experience in both coasts over the years. I guess the place where I found the freshest garlic in store was Northern Cal (I lived in Santa Cruz, so not far from Gilroy, the "garlic city"). But even there it was hit or miss. It felt sometimes they were shipping the good stuff elsewhere...

                                2. re: C. Hamster

                                  Every summer I buy a couple of garlic braids at a farmers' market. They last well into the winter and have not yet gone bad or sprouted on me.

                                3. re: c oliver

                                  Never had this problem until I lived in New England, but damned if I can find a decent head of garlic around here. I get it from the grocery already brown in spots and sprouted. I think it's because we're so far from CA.

                                4. re: C. Hamster

                                  When I freeze garlic in a ziplock baggie, it makes everything in the freezer smell of garlic. Any tips for avoiding that?


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Hmmm... It has never made my freezer smell.

                                    Maybe double bagging it? Or maybe a glass jar?

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      TDQ, I don't have experience with garlic in the freezer, but I know if I put onions in a baggie in a plastic container with a sealed lid in the fridge, they don't stink things up like when they're just in a ziploc baggie.