How I Save Time & Money on Produce
Updated: Oct 27, 2022
I live far from civilization so, periodically, I drive to a city and shop at Costco. But that means that when I get home my refrigerator is bursting at the seams with fresh produce. In order to prevent wasting a whole bunch of lovely produce, and extend my "harvest," I spend a Sunday afternoon with my food processor and some freezer baggies.
I love to cook with fresh garlic and ginger! I don't particularly like the canned garlic, or even the refrigerated tubes of ginger, so I have found that chopping up the fresh stuff and freezing it for later is more fresh, and has the full potency of the spices. I chop up a big batch of either ginger or garlic in the food processor, adding a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Then I freeze up little pucks of pungency in my mini muffin pans. I put them in the freezer, uncovered for about an hour, and then bag them up in snack-size Ziplock baggies, and toss in the freezer to use next time I cook. I have found that the coconut oil is important to keep the spices fresh, and to help them release from the muffin pans.
I've found that garlic, ginger, onion, pepper, and spinach all work well in the freezer. Each mini muffin frozen puck is equivalent to 1 T of garlic or ginger, or 2 cloves of garlic. You can even mix up the various veggies into a stir fry mix, or soup base and freeze in a gallon sized bag.
I found that all these baggies of frozen veggies were unruly in my freezer, so I ordered some handy refrigerator organization trays from Amazon.
After paying all that, I realized that you could achieve the same organization with plastic trays from the local dollar store or reuse plastic bins I had on hand that no longer had lids. I do like to use square freezer cubes for large batches of fruit or veggies that I freeze because they are so easy to stack and aren't unruly. I found that marking the front of the container helped with identification later on, rather than using the lid to mark the contents.
I hope that these organization and preservation tips are helpful to you and if you have any useful hacks to share please leave them in the comments.
UPDATE: I just found this useful tool for preserving garlic, and their site has so many more cool cooking tools you might as well look around. I don't receive anything for this referral, I just like sharing.