Now is the time to be freezing the last of Summer produce so that you can continue to use them in winter.
We adore all sorts of pastes and purees suitable for freezing that we can drop into Winter stews, coat Wintery pasta dishes, bubble in Winter Soups and chop into all sorts of dishes. Below are some of our favourites.
Keeping Garlic for Winter Use
Garlic is one of the easiest items to freeze. Simply split heads of garlic into cloves and pop into freezer bags. The instructions are here.
Make Garlic Paste or Garlic and Ginger Paste and keep in the fridge for easy use, and freeze some as well.
Ginger in Winter
Ginger can also be frozen. Buy in late Summer and early Autumn when the price is cheaper, peel, and chop into 2.5 – 3.5 cm chunks. The ginger can be taken from the freezer and chopped or grated into dishes – micro-planning the frozen ginger is easy and makes fine gratings which disappear into your dish, leaving only the flavour.
Make Ginger Paste or Garlic and Ginger Paste and keep in the fridge for easy use, and freeze some as well.
Another staple for your Winter table is Pickled Ginger. Grab some young ginger that is available in late Summer or early Autumn for perfect pickles.
Soft Herbs such as Basil, Parsley and Coriander
Purees of herbs freeze well. Make Pesto, for example, but leave the cheese out and freeze in small containers. It can be defrosted partially, and tipped into hot pasta. Pesto can be made out of many different ingredients.
Parsley can simply be chopped finely or pureed with a little water and frozen in ice cube trays before popping into zip lock bags for easy storage in the freezer.
Make a great Coriander Paste which can be kept in the fridge or freezer for use during Winter.
What to do with Chillies
Chillies can be frozen whole. Simply pop into ziplock bags and pop into the freezer. They can also be dried in a sunny window – string them up and place in the hot sun until dried.
Chillies can also be made into the most gorgeous and varied chilli pastes:
- Make a wonderful, deeply flavoured, Chilli Jam and frozen in small amounts (eg ice cubes) for popping into Winter dishes. Be careful – this paste is HOT.
- Rechad is a Chilli and Spice Paste from Goa on the West coast of India.
- Harissa is another option.
- Zhug is a Middle Eastern Chilli and Coriander Paste – oh my this is amazing.
- Also make Red and Green Chilli Pastes, which can be kept in the fridge and will last all winter. You can also freeze it if you wish to keep it longer.
Any of these can be frozen. They will also keep for some time in the fridge if sealed tightly.
Freezing and Preserving Tomatoes
There are lots of ways of freezing tomatoes.
- Firstly, did you know that you can pop whole tomatoes into zip lock bags and put them into the freezer? Put them whole into soups and stews during Winter.
- Make a beautiful Tomato and Chilli Jam and freeze. This can be used in sauces, such as pasta sauce, or in soups and stews. It also makes a great spread! This jam is not as hot as the Chilli Jam mentioned above, and is fine to use in large amounts.
- Another spicy tomato puree is Spiced Tomato Puree – this is also worth making.
- Then there is the Tomato-Chilli Sambal from Bali – it is sweet and divine and freezes well.
- There are a number of Tomato Pastes and Sauces. First of all, try Italian Tomato Sauce, a real winner. There is another version too – Pomarola. Both are great.
- The traditional Italian Tomato Paste combines vegetables with the tomatoes for a flavoursome base for Winter dishes.
- Or freeze Tomato Juice. Throw some tomatoes through the juicer, and freeze the wonderful juice. It is perfect for lots of tomato soups in winter, and can also be added to dishes such as dals, curries, rasams etc. Cheaper, cooking tomatoes can be used for juicing.
- Pureed tomatoes freeze well too – throw some tomatoes into the blender, puree and freeze portions in ziplock bags.
Drying Tomatoes and Capsicums
Small tomatoes can also be successfully dried. Cherry or Grape tomatoes are the best for this. For larger tomatoes, increase the drying times. There are a number of ways of drying tomatoes – Oven Dried Tomatoes with Sumac is one favourite, and with Pomegranate Molasses is another. Or use a simple recipe without embellishment.
While you have the oven on, why not dry some Capsicums as well.
The jewel of Autumn – green and purple figs, soft and delicious. Quite often you can find orchards to pick your own for a fraction of the price that you find in green grocers. Or sites like Gum Tree have people with back yard fig trees selling them very cheaply. You can dehydrate them, make fruit leather or, best of all, make your own Fig Jam.
You can also make Quince Leather, Quince Molasses, Quince Vinegar, Quince Syrup, Quince Honey and other goodies.
Check out all of our Quince recipes here.
Crabapples and Pomegranates
Two more beautiful fruits of Autumn. Make Jam, combining both of them.
Check out all of our Pomegranate recipes too.
Cumquats begin to ripen in Autumn. They make a glorious chutney.
Oh my goodness, how good is this Onion Marmalade. It keeps very well in the fridge, and can be used in cooking or sandwiches, wraps, toasted sandwiches, open savoury tarts etc.
Grape Vine Leaves
Grape vine leaves are easy to preserve – in brine, acidulated water or simply by freezing. Find the methods here.
Kimchi can be made at any time with a wide variety of vegetables and keeps a long time in the fridge.
Enjoy your Autumn in the kitchen.