April 26, 2018

Freezer Prep: Bell Peppers, Mushrooms & Onions

One of the ways I work ahead in the kitchen is by bulk prepping foods to store in my freezer for later use.  On this day, I worked with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions.

Bulk prepping ingredients is just as it sounds.  It is taking a large amount of meal ingredients like vegetables, meats, cheeses, etc and processing them into usable portions.

Often, I will find ingredients on sale and buy many of that item.  When it is an ingredient we use often, we can save money using these items over time in meals.  This simple principle allows me to further reduce the cost of meals for our family.  Not only did I save money by buying on sale, but chopping them myself saves quite a bit of money over buying pre-packaged bags of chopped bell peppers in the grocery store's freezer section.

It also saves me so much time in the kitchen. Instead of chopping up bell peppers every time I need one for a recipe, I can take 15 minutes and chop up many bell peppers!  This saves time both in food prep but also in time it takes to clean up. I can easily pull a bag of something I previously chopped, cooked, or mixed together from the freezer to add to meals throughout the month with no added work.

To process the bell peppers, begin by removing the internal ribs and seeds. Then slice or dice the peppers into a form you can use in future recipes. Place a single meal portion into a quart sized freezer bag, pushing as much air out as possible.  Then tightly seal bag closed.  I then place all of the quart sized bags into a gallon sized freezer bag to keep things together in the freezer for ease of finding later.

Bulk prepping mushrooms is much the same as with the bell peppers above. In this case, I used already sliced mushrooms; but you can also use whole mushrooms that you slice yourself.  Then just package up the sliced mushrooms in bags and store as described above.

To prep the onions, I did the same technique as the bell peppers.  Dice or chop the onions to the size you prefer for meals.  Then portion out the standard amount you usually use for one meal, I always use one onion's worth. Store in freezer bags for later use.

Because these vegetables have been frozen, these will not be edible raw. They will need to be used as an ingredient in meals and cooked.  Freezing these types of vegetables makes them take on a soft texture, therefore they will not have the same "bite" or crispness as they do fresh. These pre-prepped foods make a great addition to slow cooker meals, casseroles, stir-fry's, and soups.  I have many recipes that use these ingredients that I plan to share soon!