At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of this summertime produce problem: We go to a farmer’s market and buy too much, or plant a garden that is now overflowing. Then we’re left wondering what to do with all of that extra produce. To help save our favourite summer foods—and turn them into dishes later on—food and lifestyle journalist Joanna Tymkiw shares her tips and recipes.
General freezing tips
- Mark what you’re freezing: with the amount your freezing and what else is in it.
- Try silicone baggies like sachables. Free from harmful chemicals and are also super easy to get frozen foods out of them. They can bend and shift and they take up limited room in your freezer.
- If there’s room for herbs or extra flavours like lemon zest, throw them in! This way you’re infusing flavours together without even having to try. This is a great way to use up some of your summer herbs!
Sturdier herbs like thyme and rosemary, whole sprigs can be tossed in olive oil and added to a baggie before freezing.This will prevent them from drying out and you can just break off a sprig when you need it.
More delicate herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, Italian parsley and lavender tend to oxidize and blacken, but, if you surround them with fat, it prevents that air from getting in. Can use butter, whipping cream or coconut milk mixed with chopped herbs and freeze in an ice cube tray.
I like to use a designated an ice cube tray with a lid so you can keep these covered and also label them. For example, its’s a good scenario to label desserts cubes with savoury ones like, mint whipping cream vs. basil coconut milk.
Recipes to try
The only way to save these is to shred before freezing. I like to do mine in batches of 4 or 8 because when they freeze together, they can form quite the ice cube!
You can use them anywhere you’d use zucchini, for sweet or savoury, liked baked goods, soups or pasta! I love to use mine to make a warm garlicky pasta sauce.
Recipe to try
If you like making fruit based desserts like crumbles, chop your fruit into bite-sized pieces before freezing. If you’re more inclined to make dessert sauces, brunch toppings or jams, use food processor to chop fruit into small pieces. Throw in some finely grated lemon zest and a few sprigs of thyme or a sprig of rosemary in before freezing.
Recipe to try
Chop tomatoes in half and squeeze our seeds. Rough chop into large pieces before adding to freezer container. This is a great opportunity to add any fresh or frozen oregano.