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Recipes

Forget Fresh, Keep These Ingredients Frozen

Prep herbs, ginger, garlic, and lemon ahead and stash them away for big flavor on the fly.
By Published Nov. 11, 2021

When you're throwing together dinner, peeling, chopping, and mincing aromatics and herbs can take up precious time. So why not get ahead of the game by prepping ingredients in advance and storing them in the freezer so they’re ready to go when it’s time to cook? Add the potent cubes straight to pan sauces, soups, stews, sautés, and stir-fries or thaw them and stir them into batters and doughs for baked goods. Not only is this a time-saving habit, but it’s also an economical one if you buy in bulk.

Our top big-flavor items to preserve in the freezer are herbs, citrus zest, garlic, ginger, and turmeric root. In cooked and baked applications, you’d be hard pressed to distinguish the frozen versions of these items from fresh.

Citrus Zest

Remove lemon, lime, and orange zest from the fruit with a rasp-style grater. Spoon heaping teaspoons of zest onto a small baking sheet or into the wells of an ice cube tray. When the zest is firm, transfer portions to a zipper-lock freezer bag or container and store in the freezer. Thawed zest is suitable for cooking and baking but, since its color fades, not as a garnish. 

Garlic

Peel garlic cloves, mince or press them through a garlic press, and place the mince in a bowl. Add enough neutral-flavored oil (not extra-virgin olive oil, in case the dish you need it for calls for something else) to coat (about 1/2 teaspoon per clove), then spoon heaping teaspoons of the mixture onto a small baking sheet or into the wells of an ice cube tray. When the garlic is firm, transfer frozen portions to a zipper-lock freezer bag or container and store in the freezer. 

Ginger and Turmeric

Peel these roots (or not—it’s up to you), cut them into large chunks, and finely chop them in a food processor. Spoon heaping teaspoons of the mixture onto a small baking sheet or into the wells of an ice cube tray. When the ginger or turmeric is firm, transfer frozen portions to a zipper-lock freezer bag or container and store in the freezer. 

Herbs

Place 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary, sage, or thyme in each well of an ice cube tray, barely cover each well with water or oil, and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them to a zipper-lock bag or container and store them in the freezer. 

Whether you use water or oil depends on how you plan to use the cubes. Water is best for cubes that you plan to add straight to pan sauces, soups, and stews. If you’re going to use them as the first step in sautés or stir-fries, use oil.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.