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Nothing halts a cooking spree to a crawl like the realization that you need to peel and mince four cloves of garlic. The skins that adhere to your fingertips, the way even a single clove’s sugar residue turns your cutting board into a surface as sticky as a movie theater floor.

Prep work for a feast shouldn’t mean sweating the small stuff. Instead, let your freezer do the heavy lifting. By stocking up on individual portions of minced garlic, grated ginger, or chopped fresh herbs, you can make sure you always have the flavors you love on hand. When done right, freezing ingredients can actually make them more flavorful during cooking; ice crystals puncture plant cell walls as they form, and upon thawing, release even more of the volatile flavor compounds than you’d get with just mincing alone. 

The fresh frozen garlic and herbs from Dorot Gardens are flash-frozen right on the farm within 90 minutes of harvest, which means you can keep delicate seasonings like dill or parsley for weeks or months, locked in their most vivid moment of flavor. Each individually portioned cube equates to a teaspoon of minced fresh garlic or herbs. It’s rare for convenience and flavor to go hand in hand in the kitchen, so when it happens, it’s good to take advantage. Here are a few ways to make the most of your own freezer’s bounty.

Skip the Onion Soup Mix

Nothing tastes quite like nostalgia, which for many of us means brisket, meatloaf, or pot roast soused in a gravy made primarily from packaged dried onion soup mix. Nothing wrong with that, but in a big, meaty braise, it’s nice when seasonings like onion and garlic complement a piece of meat rather than completely overwhelming it. Dorot Gardens’ fresh frozen garlic and frozen sauteed onions are a perfect match for red meat. Saute a few cubes in olive oil until they’re fragrant, then stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste and cook that for another minute, then whisk in chicken or beef broth for a braising liquid and gravy base that will turn your brisket or meatloaf into the star of a meal. You can even add some green to the plate by stirring a cube of Dorot Gardens’ frozen parsley straight into the pan while the meat is resting.

Power Up A Pilaf

In homes across South Asia, many dishes begin with paste of fresh ginger and garlic that’s then enhanced with spices. This powerful paste adds savory depth to rice dishes, curries, and lentils of all kinds, and if you have Dorot Gardens’ frozen ginger and garlic on hand, you’re ready to follow suit. Heat a few tablespoons of oil or ghee in a large pan and add cubes of ginger and garlic over medium heat, along with a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf. When the pan smells irresistibly fragrant, add a cup of rinsed long-grain rice like basmati, and stir so every single grain becomes coated in the flavorful oil. Toast the rice like this until the grains develop a nutty aroma, then add your cooking liquid for a full-flavored pilaf that doesn’t even require a knife or cutting board. While this method works best for dishes that start with sauteing in oil, you can even keep it in mind for slow-cooker classics like cholent. Grains are sponges for flavor, and nothing works quite like ginger-garlic paste.

A Snappier Salad Dressing

Bottled salad dressings can’t hold a candle to ones you make yourself with fresh ingredients. This one comes together quickly and keeps for weeks: In a clean screw-top jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper with one cube each of Dorot Gardens’ frozen turmeric and frozen chopped cilantro or parsley. Let everything commingle for a few minutes while the cubes defrost, then carefully screw on the lid and shake like a bartender for 30 seconds. (This is a great opportunity to get kids excited about a meal while pawning some manual labor onto them.) After shaking, you’ll have a versatile and emulsified salad dressing for any greens, now enhanced with turmeric’s earthy flavor and flecks of green herbs. What’s more, the black pepper in the dressing will enhance the bioavailability of the anti-inflammatory curcumin in turmeric, making this a salad that works harder for you than you worked for it.

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