In an effort to make more interesting dinners and make it easier on myself, I was wondering if I can chop up onions, carrots and celery and freeze them for future use? I never did it before and am ALWAYS TOO LAZY to start cutting them up dinner time. If I had them done already, oh how easy and tasty my Dinners can actually be!!!
What tips do you use for speeding up dinners?
(I HATE to COOK, I should add!!) Thanks!!!!
SPRING HAS F I N A L L Y SPRUNG!!!!!
Onions and celery will be more watery than usual and I'm not sure about the carrots.
Cooked vegetables freeze better.
When freezing or canning vegetables for preservation purposes, like green beans, corn, etc., those have to be blanched first to stop the growing process/enzyme production, so I would think the same holds true for onions, celery and carrots.
However, those three vegetables could be kept chopped and refrigerated for a few days before use and be just fine.
I don't know if you are retired or working, but some days I start my evening meal after breakfast with these chores, browning meat, peeling potatoes and soaking in cool water, etc.
This speeds up the meal prep and makes me feel productive in the morning when I have an hour to spare before appointments, meetings, errands.
Otherwise the flavor is off, texture altered when thawed for use.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
I just do things as I cook them -- I guess it's not too much trouble to me to chop carrots, onions or celery. It's just part of the cooking process.
I know that you can buy chopped onions frozen. You might check your grocery to see what they have in the way of celery and carrots. Also, I do know that the produce section has shredded carrots -- which you could use and some stores may even have chopped celery, onions in the produce section.
I'm not much of a freezer of anything -- preferring to prepare things fresh although I do freeze meat and do use frozen vegetables mostly in the winter. And I sometimes freeze baked goods -- it's always handy to have a poundcake on hand.
But that's me!
I'm sorry I'm not much help -- but do check your produce section for chopped things.
View my blog:
Once onions are chopped, it's awful trying to keep their odor from permeating everything in the freezer. Very few "airtight" containers or packaging are tight enough to contain that smell. Celery will turn to mush, so sauteing it for a recipe will be problematic. And raw carrots... I suspect would do the same.
I personally love prepping vegetables. Don't find it a chore at all. But I have good tools for doing the job. I've been in other women's kitchens who have the equivalent of butter knives to chop and cut food. I'd absolutely hate cooking if I had junk like that in my own kitchen. So... I have to ask you, Wavy... Do you have a quality chef's knife to help you with your work? If you have recipes that call for a LOT of chopped veggies, a food processor - even an inexpensive Hamilton Beach or the like - will help immensely. The right tools for the job make ALL the difference.
My own chef's knife is the one recommended by America's Test Kitchen cooks. Cost me about $25, which is a steal as kitchen knives go. If you want the make and model, I'll look it up and post later. It really makes short work of prepping veggies for recipes. Good for meats, too.
If you don't want the expense of buying pre-chopped veggies, you could cut up extra for use later. As long as you plan ahead & make sure you use them soon, that's a way to speed up some meals.
We find that planning ahead & making sure we have everything on hand for each meal is what speeds us up at our house. The descion-making process takes the longest.
I am going to try freezing celery. When you cook it in soups and stews it is mushy any way. I usually throw away a lot of celery as we can't use up the whole stalk,, even though I wrap it tite in foil, seems to keep longer. I don't see why you couldn't freeze carrots either. Chop them blanch briefly and freeze in amounts you use. I freeze green peppers all the time (to use only in cooking) and have no problems. I freeze cabbage for cabbage rolls all the time. Like you I don't always feel like chopping vegies when I cook. Guess I am ready to experement. Sue
Haha, Nettiejay, it is good that you are not in my kitchen!!! You would have a heart attack! I seriously use one little knife ( had it for over 30 years-never been sharpened) for almost all my food prep! When I am in another kitchen, church for example, I am nearly helpless. I cannot cut with other knives!
My only other knives are, an old steak knife for cutting tomatoes,etc. and a large knife for cutting something like cantaloupes, etc.
When I see a knife block full of knives I wonder what people do with them!
Getting back on topic, I also find it easy to prepare veggies. It really only takes a few minutes. You can cut them the night before and keep them in the frig.I would freeze them if just using them in soups or stews.
I do one of two things...mostly, I use a small electric processor to cut foods like onions, celery, garlic, carrots quickly. The second option is to use dried onions, garlic powder, or dried red/green peppers to cut down on waste and time. Tho I prefer fresh vs. dried, dried can be handy when you're out of fresh or don't desire the mess.
Also, powdered low sodium instant soup mixes (the kind you use for dips or boullion) can sub for some of these ingredients too if you're in a hurry.
I freeze chopped onion in small zip loc bags--no problem with the smell escaping. I also buy mixed vegetables for soup and the bag contains carrots, green beans, corn etc--none of them turn mushy. Celery however may be a real mess--I would not freeze it.
This site explains how to freeze a number of veggies. Note the list on this pg.. Here's the direct link to freezing celery...
I always keep peppers in my freezer to use for cooking. We grow, hot, sweet and bell varieties. I wash and freeze whole in gallon ziplocks then take out and dice the amount needed. they keep indifinitely this way.
I also chop onion and freeze in ziplocks. Odor has never been in issue.
I chop celery also and freeze this way. It's so handy to be able to take out what I need and add to the pot.
Ok, I freeze anything that is left over and might spoil before I need to use it again. I freeze raw onions, chopped in a freezer qt. sz. zip bag, no problem with odors. I freeze raw bell peppers, chopped...those I put in gallon bags since I use so many & grow my own. The peppers go on a paper towel lined cookie sheet to dry some before going into the bag or I freeze them on the cookies sheet & then dump them in the bag. I've kept them for 2 yrs. this way without any noticeable flavor loss.
Celery, chop it to the size you want to use it for soups & stews. Spread it on a paper towel lined cookie sheet also to let it dry a bit before going into the freezer on that cookie sheet. Once froze, dump them in a zip bag.
Carrots, if going to be frozen get chopped & 1 min. in the microwave in my micro steamer, then spread on that paper towel lined cookie sheet to dry before freezing.
None of these will be crispy like fresh but they work fine in soups, stews, spaghetti sauce & things like that.
Wavy, to make things easier on myself, I cook once & eat several times...meaning I cook bigger batches than we will eat at one meal & freeze the excess in meal size portions (individual or family sz.). If I make a meatloaf, I will have enough left over for several more meals. Each slice gets wrapped in plastic wrap and then all go into a zip bag. Label & date all containers in the freezer!
Same with chili, baked ziti w/it. sausage and a few more meals. I also freeze left-over mashed potatoes in meal size portions in zip bags. Just thaw, put in a bowl (will be runny), microwave for one min....add a 1/2 T butter and a dribble of milk, stir, microwave again for one min....should be ready! Taste like fresh mashed taters to me!
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Gakaren I do the same often. Those frozen meals sure come in handy on a busy day!
Thanks everyone. I don't want to use celery and carrots for soup. I was thinking more like some sort of 'stir fry' or even with roasted chicken. I like onions with chicken, but am often too tired and/or lazy to start with the onions (& it's usually too late at this point now too), so I usually never add sliced onions to the bottom of my roast chicken pot.
Maybe I will try a little bit and see how the texture becomes when I use it after freezing it. The big problem with me is REMEMBERING that this is in the freezer to begin with!!!!
I love my hand grater, and use it for so many things...hubby and son are fussy onion eaters,and I just love the flavor so I grate it small and it is never seen or complained about,carrots and other veggies I grate coarser, and it is so much quicker and easier for me to grate than it is to dice or chop...my granny got me to using "Rada" knives many moons ago...and to me they are still the best value and so handy,and you can get a whole set for around 30-60 bucks depending on the type of knives you order, ages ago they were sold as church and school fundraisers...I purchased them as gifts at the fleamarket when I was in the states a few months ago to bring back to Australia, as all my inlaws love them. I agree the right tools sure make life easier in the kitchen!
" Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.. "
Perhaps try timing how long it takes to do some of this peeling & chopping.
This might help you think in a different mindset - that I can have onion for my recipe ready in 3 minutes, a carrot done up in 2 min.
A BFF DH is recuperating in the hospital from OR and I decided late this afternoon I'd start some homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to deliver to their home. I even had to go to the grocery store first.
Figuring this would be a 2-day process I checked the clock (4:30), kept my nose to the grindstone and had it all finished by 5:37, with the kitchen pretty cleaned up. I was home from dropping it off by 6pm in time to change clothes to go out for dinner. The garage even smelled luscious.
I'd pared &/or chopped, onion, celery, carrots, potatoes and baked fresh chicken breasts.
|Powered by Social Strata|