Cooking: Autumn Freezing and Easy Preserving for Winter Use

Now is the time to be freezing the last of Summer produce so that you can continue to use them in winter.  We adore all sorts of pastes and purees suitable for freezing that we can drop into Winter stews, coat Wintery pasta dishes, bubble in Winter Soups and chop into all sorts of dishes. Here are some of our favourites.

Garlic

Garlic is one of the easiest items to freeze. Simply split heads of garlic into cloves and pop into freezer bags. The instructions are here.

Make Garlic Paste or Garlic and Ginger Paste and keep in the fridge for easy use, and freeze some as well.

Garlic

Ginger

Ginger can also be frozen. Buy in late Summer and early Autumn when the price is cheaper, peel, and chop into 2.5 – 3.5 cm chunks. The ginger can be taken from the freezer and chopped or grated into dishes – micro-planning the frozen ginger is easy and makes fine gratings which disappear into your dish, leaving only the flavour.

Make Ginger Paste or Garlic and Ginger Paste and keep in the fridge for easy use, and freeze some as well.

Another staple for your Winter table is Pickled Ginger. Grab some young ginger that is available in late Summer or early Autumn for perfect pickles.

Young Ginger Root

Soft Herbs such as Basil, Parsley and Coriander

Purees of herbs freeze well. Make Pesto, for example, but leave the cheese out and freeze in small containers. It can be defrosted partially, and tipped into hot pasta. Pesto can be made out of many different ingredients.

Parsley can simply be chopped finely or pureed with a little water and frozen in ice cube trays before popping into zip lock bags for easy storage in the freezer.

Make a great Coriander Paste which can be kept in the fridge or freezer for use during Winter.

Coriander Paste

Chillies

Chillies can be frozen whole. Simply pop into ziplock bags and pop into the freezer. They can also be dried in a sunny window – string them up and place in the hot sun until dried.

Chillies can also be made into the most gorgeous and varied chilli pastes:

Any of these can be frozen. They will also keep for some time in the fridge if sealed tightly.

Chilli Paste

Tomatoes

There are lots of ways of freezing tomatoes.

Firstly, did you know that you can pop whole tomatoes into zip lock bags and put them into the freezer? Put them whole into soups and stews during Winter.

Make a beautiful Tomato and Chilli Jam and freeze. This can be used in sauces, such as pasta sauce, or in soups and stews. It also makes a great spread! This jam is not as hot as the Chilli Jam mentioned above, and is fine to use in large amounts.

Another spicy tomato puree is Spiced Tomato Puree – this is also worth making.

There are a number of Tomato Pastes and Sauces. First of all, try Italian Tomato Sauce, a real winner. There is another version too – Pomarola. Both are great.

The traditional Italian Tomato Paste combines vegetables with the tomatoes for a flavoursome base for Winter dishes.

Or freeze Tomato Juice. Throw some tomatoes through the juicer, and freeze the wonderful juice. It is perfect for lots of tomato soups in winter, and can also be added to dishes such as dals, curries, rasams etc. Cheaper, cooking tomatoes can be used for juicing.

tomato-and-chilli-jam-2

Drying Tomatoes and Capsicums

Small tomatoes can also be successfully dried. Cherry or Grape tomatoes are the best for this. For larger tomatoes, increase the drying times. There are a number of ways of drying tomatoes – Oven Dried Tomatoes with Sumac is one favourite, and with Pomegranate Molasses is another. Or use a simple recipe without embellishment.

While you have the oven on, why not dry some Capsicums as well.

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Quinces

Oh, quinces – so perfectly representative of Autumn. Quince Jam will bring sweetness to Winter, so will Quince Paste, and Quince Pickles will put a taste of India on your plate.

quince achaar

Crabapples and Pomegranates

Two more beautiful fruits of Autumn. Make Jam, combining both of them.

You can also easily extract pomegranate juice if you have a cold press juicer. Freeze the juice or make Pomegranate Honey, Pomegranate Vinegar and Pomegranate Molasses.

How to Extract Pomegranate Juice

Onions

Oh my goodness, how good is this Onion Marmalade. It keeps very well in the fridge, and can be used in cooking or sandwiches, wraps, toasted sandwiches, open savoury tarts etc.

Misc Vegetables

Kimchi can be made at any time with a wide variety of vegetables and keeps a long time in the fridge.

 

Enjoy your Autumn in the kitchen.

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