I’m the world’s worst at buying a container of something– mushrooms, for example– using them in one dish, then letting the rest go bad sitting for weeks in my refrigerator. (Bad planning!) But this year I was proud that I thought ahead, plus had some down time during my Christmas holidays, and fixed them where I can use them later.
Your freezer is your BFF for this. Chop your mushrooms, fill ice trays about half full with them, then top them off with chicken broth or oil. Freeze and put in freezer bags. Ready to use! (Just don’t forget they’re in the freezer!)
I also like to make chicken broth any time I have chicken bones. After I roast or boil the bone-in chicken and remove the meat, I boil the bones again. If you don’t have time right then, you can put all the bones, or the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, in a freezer bag to do later. The yummy broth you can get is worth the trouble! If you are chopping vegetables, put the scraps in the pot too, for extra flavor. Put the bones in a large pot and cover with water; salt and pepper if you like; and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for a few hours. Cool then refrigerate. (A straight sided pitcher is handy for this.) The fat will rise to the top and can be spooned off. *NOTE: If you have a lot of bones, like a whole turkey carcass, the broth will have the consistency of jelly. This is because of the marrow in the bones– don’t worry; it will liquefy as it heats up.
Then pour in ice trays (good for adding a couple of cubes for flavor to rice or small dishes) or larger containers and freeze; remove from containers and put in freezer bags for use in soups, gravies, and anything else that needs a shot of extra flavor.
Ice trays are also very handy for freezing bits of fresh herbs (in oil or broth) and lemon or lime juice. Think of the most common amount you require of any of these, whether it’s a tablespoon or a cup, and freeze in that quantity to make it easy on yourself.
Don’t let those fresh yummy goodies go bad in your refrigerator, wasting money– put them in the freezer and save them for later!