There are some things that I do pretty religiously in the kitchen to cut down on cooking time/prep time but not sacrifice flavor. Here I’m hoping to list a few of them, and update as I get use new hacks.
- Garlic at the ready: Trader Joe’s Pre-peeled Garlic. TJs sells these in little vacuum packed packages so that the garlic doesn’t lose it’s flavor. I buy a pack or two of these, open them up, put them in the food processor, and pulse them until they’re chopped how I like them, put them in glass storage container, and fill it up with olive oil. The oil traps the most of the flavor that leaves the garlic when you pre-chop it. This way, I have garlic in oil ready to use…I can just scoop some out and add it to a recipe, and I’m not sacrificing on flavor that can sometimes come with pre-chopped garlic. It lasts in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
- Squeezy bottle Lime Juice: If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I don’t shy away from pre-packaged lime or lemon juice. But really there is something special about the stuff you squeeze directly from the limes — it tastes slightly different. I usually buy a bag of limes, and in 6 minutes I can chop them, squeeze them using my handy-dandy citrus squeezer, and put the juice in a squeezy bottle and store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. That way when I want to add some acid to my recipes, I can just grab and squeeze.
- Frozen Ginger: We use a lot of ginger in this house. I put it in all of my indian cooking, my tea, my asian-inspired cooking, in desserts, etc. But I still don’t use it quickly enough for me to justify keeping a big hunk of it in the fridge where it will desicate. So instead, I buy a huge hunk of it as the grocery store, get home, peel it (or wash it if I’m in a rush and don’t want to peel it), break it into smaller pieces, stick it in a freezer proof ziplock bag, and pop it in the freezer. That way, whenever I want ginger, I can pull out a piece, grate it, and put it away. It does lose a little flavor, but not a ton. It’s a great way to keep ginger on hand at all times.
- Pre-cut Onions: I hate cutting onions for recipes. The smell lingers on your hands and god help you if you get it on your clothes. I frequently just leave them out if I have to cut them specially for a recipe. But I love the flavor…soooo I try to keep a container of pre-cut onions on hand. Basically, when I get home from the grocery store, I cut up an onion, put it in a storage container, and pop it in the fridge. It’s good for 1.5-2 weeks, and I can just pull it out, toss some in oil for my saute whenever I need some.