Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thifty Tip #4: Freezing

Did you know that you can freeze hot peppers and chives? You can then use them (still frozen!) the same way you would use fresh. Of course, chives and chiles are not the most expensive ingredients out there, but I find that it is hard to find chives in the winter and some times our local stores doesn't get the more exotic varieties of chile peppers, so when we see them, we stock up and freeze any extras. I generally chop both chives and chile peppers before freezing but if you remove the stems, hot peppers can be froze whole.

Freezing also a good way to keep harder to find or seasonal ingredients (like garlic chives, scotch bonnet peppers, berries or even pomegranate seeds) on hand. There is nothing worse than needing a particular ingredient or chile and then not being able to find it at the store when you go to buy it. Most fresh herbs can be frozen, which is a good way to preserve a large harvest if you grow your own. Some herbs become less than attractive when they thaw, but they still would work in a recipe and generally have a better flavor than dried. I even freeze my own corn (with its juices) when it is in season and while not as wonderful as fresh, it is nearly as good and lasts until the next corn season.

Here is an excellent website that gives instructions on how to freeze dozens of foods including things I have never heard of like mayhaw juice.