Tag Archives: freezing food

saving leftover wine for cooking

Here is yet another way that I reduce/eliminate food waste in my kitchen. I saw an episode of Nigella where she froze her leftover party wine in baggies to use later in soups and sauces. I tried it, but always ended up losing the baggies in the mess of the small freezer. Then, I saw this at The Greening of Westford. I’ve been keeping leftover wine like this ever since. It’s so much handier to scoop some out of a jar than it ever was to get it out of a baggie. Plus, less baggies to wash is always a good thing in my mind. And using glass over plastic is better too, wherever possible.

Not that there is often much in the line of leftover wine around here, but when there is, I do this with it. I’m not a big fan of leftover red wine and unless we have guests, we don’t usually have wine with dinner. So it would just sit there and go to waste otherwise.

The nice part of all of this is that the wine doesn’t freeze solid because of the alcohol content, so it’s easy to scoop out the amount that you want. I emptied the better part of the jar last week when I was making some marinara sauce, then topped it up again with the leftovers from dinner with the city cousins this past weekend. It’s a never ending wine slushy (which might have some possibilities as well).

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, A Pinch of Joy

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freezing basil and garlic – another kitchen shortcut

My basil plant has been growing like crazy, but I noticed that lately even it looks unhappy in the heat. I was afraid that it would end up baked before my tomatoes were ready, so I thought I’d be proactive and put some of it in the freezer just in case. I freeze it in cubes, which makes it handy to pop one or two into a pot of sauce or soup.

There is no recipe for this one. I kill two birds with one stone and chop garlic and basil together with some olive oil and freeze it all in ice cube trays. Once frozen, I just pop the cubes into freezer bags and label them.

Just fill up your food processor with basil (I had the bowl packed full) and garlic (I used about 2 1/2 heads of it) and chop it all together with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to keep it fresh. You could go ahead and make pesto too and freeze it this way, but this is the quick and easy, done in a few minutes version. It would be easy enough to make it into pesto in the food processor afterwards with the addition of parmesan and pine nuts (or, if like me you are out, roasted pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast).

Linked to A Pinch of Joy, Like a Mustard Seed, Frugally Sustainable, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Traditional Tuesday, A Delightful Home, Homestead Simple, I Did It Tuesday

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easiest strawberry rhubarb jam ever

This is a quick and easy way to preserve some rhubarb. The recipe doesn’t require strawberries, but you could replace some of the rhubarb with strawberries if you have some on hand.

You can either freeze it as a freezer jam, process it for 10 minutes in a water bath, or do it the old fashioned easy way like I did. I poured the boiling jam into hot sterilized jars straight from the dishwasher leaving 1/4 to 1/8 inch of headspace. Then I wiped the rims, popped on the tops (also hot and sterilized straight from the dishwasher on the hot setting), tightened the rings and turned them upside down on a towel. After that, all you have to do is leave them to cool overnight. Test the tops the next day – if they are properly sealed there will be no give in the lid (this method only safe to be used for high acid foods like fruit jams or jelly). If not properly sealed, put in fridge and use over the next couple of weeks or freeze for up to a year.

We tested some out over ice cream and decided that it’s a definite keeper.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

  • 6 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 2-3 cups white sugar (to taste – I used 2 1/2 and would try it again with only 2)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package strawberry flavored gelatin

In a large saucepan or stockpot, stir together the fresh rhubarb and sugar. Let stand for an hour or two to draw out some of the liquid and help break down the rhubarb.

Bring the rhubarb and sugar to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, until fruit is soft and completely cooked. I used a stick blender to smoothe it out a bit at this point, then stirred in the dry gelatin mix. Transfer to sterile jars, allow to cool and freeze (or process it as above).

Linking to Frugally Sustainable, A Pinch of Joy, Sorta Crunchy

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