Finding giant bags of organic peeled garlic at the grocery store (or at Costco) usually seems like a huge win. It’s not very expensive (yay!) and will save you tons of time peeling garlic when you’re cooking.
Cut to a week later and you realize that even though you’ve been eating more garlic than normal (because you don’t have to peel it, throwing extra garlic into dishes is super easy) you’ve barely made a dent in your giant bag of garlic.
Peeled garlic also doesn’t have as long of a shelf life as unpeeled garlic either, so now you’re thinking that it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to eat all of it before it goes bad.
But don’t worry! Here are two ways of storing extra garlic cloves so that you can use them up when you’re ready to.
1. Freeze The Extra Garlic Gloves
This is super simple to do and you can use up all your garlic cloves in your own time.
1. Pour the extra garlic cloves that you want to freeze into a bowl and set aside. Add a folded paper towel or two to the garlic cloves in the original package that they came in that you want to keep fresh in your fridge (the paper towel will absorb any excess moisture and the garlic will keep fresher for longer). Replace the paper towel every couple of days.
2. Give the excess garlic cloves a good rinse. Transfer them into ziploc freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible, and freeze them flat.
3. When you’re ready to use them, take out as many cloves as you need and run them under warm water for a few seconds to defrost. Chop and use as usual.
They will have a softer texture than fresh garlic cloves, and the flavor might be slightly milder, but you can always add another clove or two to your dish to balance that out.
2. Make Fermented Garlic Honey
I love watching the It’s Alive series on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel. It is hilarious. The editing and the host are fun and you learn a lot about fermentation. Here’s the episode about fermenting garlic in honey.
I’ve made garlic honey a few times now. I’ve made a few other fermented things before (red cabbage kimchi kraut and lacto-fermented garlic cloves) but the fermented garlic honey is by far the easiest thing to make if you’re looking to start preserving food using fermentation.
Garlic honey is delicious drizzled onto gluten-free bread, or homemade tortilla chips. I like to eat a few cloves of this when I have a cold. I’m not sure if it does anything to fight off a cold, but it’s a nice treat to have nonetheless.
I’m not a expert in this, so please watch the video above for more info, especially about adding the splash of apple cider and keeping the pH below 4.6 to be on the safe side.
1. Rinse off your garlic cloves with filtered water (chlorine can prevent or slow fermentation). If you use straight tap water, that’s ok too. Just rinse them off with filtered water. Drain off as much water as possible and place them onto plates lined with paper towels to dry.
The next day replace the paper towels with dry ones, and leave the garlic cloves to dry another day until they are completely dry to the touch.
2. Pick out the cloves the look a little rough and trim off any blemishes or dark spots on the cloves. Put the cloves onto a cutting board and bash them with a knife or cut them in half. Add all the garlic into a clean dry wide mouth mason jar and cover them in raw honey (leaving about 2-3 inches of headroom in the jar).
I didn’t leave enough headroom in my jar, and the honey has leaked a little out of the top of the jar while it’s been fermenting (not a big deal, you can just wash it off). Give everything a good stir so that the garlic and honey are well combined.
3. Put the lid on the mason jar and don’t screw the jar completely tight, leave it a little loose so that any gases produced during the fermentation can escape. Set the jar aside in an area without any direct sunlight where it wont be disturbed. I set my jar on a small plate so that it will catch any honey that might leak out from the top of the jar during fermentation, which makes it easy to rinse the honey off of the plate and the outside of the jar every few days.
Every day for the first few days, screw the lid on tightly and turn the jar upside down so that the honey can cover all the garlic cloves. Turn the jar right side up, loosen the lid, and place it back in it’s spot again.
After the first week, you can just do this every few days or so. After a month, you can just leave it alone with the lid a little loose and it should look after itself. Check the pH periodically to make sure that it stays below 4.6.
I’ve never had a jar of garlic honey go bad on me yet, but if you have any mold growing in the jar or if anything looks funny, when in doubt, throw it out.
This is what the garlic will look like after 6 months. The flavor of the garlic mellows out over time, and the cloves become sweet and chewy. The longer the garlic sits in the honey, the mellower the garlic flavor and the chewier they get. If you have a friend who loves garlic, a jar of this garlic honey makes a great gift.
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, and they are super versatile. You can use them to make mini sweet potato pies, or sweet potato muffins (they taste like pumpkin bread), and they also taste great when sautéed with some onions, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.
The one down side about sweet potatoes is that they can be very difficult to cut. They tend to roll around on the cutting board, and trying to cut them with a chef’s knife (even a very sharp one) can become a pretty risky situation fairly quickly.
Here’s the technique that I use to make cutting sweet potatoes a little easier.
You will need:
– a paring knife
– vegetable brush
– knife sharpener
– cutting board
– clean dish cloth or paper towel
1. Give your sweet potatoes a good scrub with the vegetable brush and dry them off thoroughly with the dish cloth or paper towel. You want your sweet potatoes to be as dry as possible so that they don’t slip around on the cutting board. Set the sweet potatoes aside.
2. Sharpen your paring knife.
I have a little handheld knife sharpener (which isn’t the best, but gets the job done) and I run the paring knife through the carbide blades about 50 times and the ceramic rods about 30 times (if you have a better knife sharpener you probably won’t have to spend as much time sharpening your knife). Wash your knife with a little dish soap and carefully dry off the blade and the handle of the knife. You’ll also want to dry off your hands at this point so that you can get a good grip on the sweet potato while you’re cutting it.
You probably don’t need to sharpen your knife every time you cut a sweet potato, but it is a good idea too if you can. A sharp knife makes everything a little safer.
I also like using a paring knife over a chef’s knife for cutting sweet potatoes because it has a smaller blade, which means that there’s less force acting against your knife when you’re making your cuts.
3. If you want to peel your sweet potatoes, go ahead and do that now, but I usually keep the skin on the sweet potato just as a preference because it makes the sweet potatoes easier to grip when cutting.
Hold the left side of the sweet potato firmly with your left hand and then slice about 1/2 inch off from one end of the sweet potato, turn it 180 degrees, and then slice 1/2 inch off the other end.
From there you can cut up your sweet potato any way you like. I normally make sweet potato fries because they are easy to make, and make a great side for lunch or dinner.
To cut fries – hold the sweet potato firmly on the cutting board with your left hand, then place the blade of the paring knife perpendicular to the sweet potato so that the point of the blade goes straight into the middle of the sweet potato.
Once the blade is about an inch to an inch and a half into the sweet potato, (while still holding the sweet potato firmly against the cutting board with your left hand) with your right hand begin to push on the handle of the paring knife so that while you’re pushing the blade into the sweet potato, the blade also rotates all the way down and eventually becomes parallel to the cutting board, slicing through one half of the sweet potato.
Pull the knife out of the sweet potato and turn the sweet potato 180 degrees, and repeat so that the sweet potato is sliced in half and you have 2 halves of a sweet potato that you can lay flat on the cutting board.
4. Repeat this same motion (press the blade perpendicular into the sweet potato, rotate blade down and slice through), when making the rest of your cuts.
I like to cut my sweet potato fries 1/2 inch thick, and here’s how I cook them so that they get extra sweet without any added sweeteners.
To cut rounds – for if you want to use the sweet potato rounds as bases for veggie pizzas, press the blade about 1 inch into the sweet potato and press down while you rotate the sweet potato with your left hand until you end up with a little round of sweet potato.
I hope that these tips help make cutting sweet potatoes a little easier for you. If you also love eating sweet potatoes, let me know in the comments below how you like to cook them. It would be cool to see how other people like to cook them as well.
Limes are a great way to add zip and flavor to all kinds dishes from tacos, to pho, or sorbets, or pad thai. The the little burst of bright sourness that they give can instantly make a dish go from “good” to “Wow! This tastes AMAZING!”
Organic limes can be a little hard to find at my local grocery store. They also tend to be expensive if I don’t buy them in bulk. The cheapest place that I’ve seen them is at Trader Joe’s for about $2 for a bag for 4 -5 organic limes, so that’s where I tend to buy them from.
Limes are also not an ingredient that I tend to use very often, so before I figured out that there was a way to freeze them, I tended to buy a bag of limes when I really only needed one or two, and then forget that I had them at the back of the fridge until eventually I had to throw them out.
But no more! If you ever find yourself with leftover limes, here’s how to freeze them so that you have them on hand whenever you need them.
1. Give your limes a good scrub with a vegetable brush. Juice them, and pour the juice into ice cube trays (any ice cube tray will do, this is just a circular one). Once the juice is frozen, transfer the lime juice cubes into a ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until ready to use.
You can set a few of the lime juice cubes in a little bowl on the counter to defrost, and then use the juice as needed.
2. Take the lime rinds and freeze them in a separate ziploc bag. You can zest the lime rinds from frozen when you need lime zest. The zest will defrost almost instantly once grated, and you can use it the same way that you would fresh lime zest.
If you find that the lime juice is a little bitter (some limes are bitter and some aren’t, I’m not entirely sure why) you can add a little maple syrup (if you’re vegan) or honey to your dish and it should balance out the bitterness.
I did this recently when I was making pico di gallo for a family get together and found the the limes that I had were a little bitter. So I added a little honey to the pico, and that smoothed out the bitterness and the bright flavor of the lime still came through. The pico came out great, and everyone happy ate their tacos and even went for seconds.
I hope that this helps you make the most of the times when you have fresh limes! If you use this tip, let me know what dishes you used your frozen limes for. It would be great to see all the different dishes that everyone was able to make with limes that they saved.
Sometimes when you go grocery shopping, you see a gigantic bag of organic baby greens for $5 and think “Hey! That’s a great deal!”
Once you get home though, you realize that there is no way that you’re going to be able to eat that entire bag of baby greens before they go bad. I had the same thought with a big bag of baby kale. But have no fear! There’s a super easy way to get the most out of your purchase.
And it’s ok to do this after your greens have started to look a little worse for wear. You may have to compost a few more leaves of baby greens, but you should still be able to save most of your baby green bounty.
1. Take two large bowls. Pick out the greens that have started to get slimy (you don’t want those) and place them in one bowl, and the still good greens in the other.
Compost the old greens, and then give the fresh greens a few good rinses in cool water. Pour the baby greens with the rinse water into a large strainer and drain off the excess water (it’s ok if there’s still a bit of water on them, you don’t want them to be perfectly dry).
2. Place your greens in a large pot with a few tablespoons of a neutral flavored oil (I like avocado oil). The oil makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients in the greens.
If the greens are really dry, add about 1/2 – 1 cup water to the pot with the greens. Cook over medium to medium high heat (depending on how fast you want the greens to cook down) stirring occasionally until the greens have all wilted down.
3. Wait for the greens to cool to room temperature. Spoon the greens into a freezer ziploc bag (you may need more than one bag depending on how many greens you have) and flatten the bag so that the greens are evenly distributed inside of the freezer bag.
Fold the bag into thirds the way that you would fold a letter before putting it into an envelope (please see top photo for reference). You should be left with a long rectangle, then do your best to fold this long rectangle into thirds and wrap a rubber band around the whole thing, place it into a shallow dish of some sort (just to catch any drips on the off chance that there are any leaks) and pop it into the freezer and freeze until solid.
(They are kind of pretty aren’t they? The one on the left almost looks like vegetable stained glass, or baby kale stained glass.)
Once frozen, you should be left with these squares of baby greens. You can throw them directly into soups, or defrost them and add them to smoothies, or stir fry them with a bit of garlic and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice.
I also sometimes just throw a square of frozen baby greens into a bowl with some cooked leftover rice and sweet potatoes and put it into the rice cooker to steam for about 10-15 minutes, and ta-da! Add a little Thai Peanut Sauce Dressing that’s a simple and delicious dinner.
However you use your frozen baby greens, I hope that this trick helps you to make the most of them.
Lemons tend to be expensive. A single organic lemon can cost in the neighborhood of $1.30 – $1.70 depending on the store, so it’s usually a cheaper option to buy the 2 lb bag of organic lemons for about $5 instead.
This means that I usually end up with a bag of lemons when I only needed 1 or 2 of them.
If you’re ever in this pinch and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your lemons before they go bad, then freezing them is a really good option.
I wash the lemons, then juice them and pour the lemon juice into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, pop the lemon juice cubes into a zip top bag and stash them in your freezer until you’re ready to use them. The lemon juice cubes melt quickly and are a great way to always have lemon juice always on hand. I used an ice cube tray from daiso, which just happens to make smaller ice cubes, but a normal ice cube tray will work just as well.
I add the lemon juice cubes to tea, or to chicken soup with brown rice and quinoa, or quinoa tabbouleh.
You can freeze the lemon rinds as well in a separate zip top bag, and grate them from frozen on a microplane to add lemon zest to your dishes.
When I have a cold, I’ll toss a few of the frozen lemon rinds into a pot and boil them with some water, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and honey for a soothing tea.
However you use your frozen lemons, I hope that this trick brings you many happy lemony dishes!
There are lots of cleaning supplies on the market, but often times, the simplest solutions are the best ones.
When I want to give my kitchen sink a good clean, I empty out the sink then pour about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of baking soda into the side of the sink (away from the drain). There’s no need to measure this, just eyeball it.
Add a few drops of dish soap (I use a Seventh Generation Dish Soap) to the baking soda and a good glug of plain cheap white vinegar (I just poured it into an old apple cider vinegar bottle because it’s easier to keep on the counter than the 2 gallon bottle that it comes in).
The vinegar will bubble up, but add enough so that it forms a paste with the baking soda and dish soap. Use a paper towel or cloth to scrub the paste over your sink, then rinse it off with warm water. If needed, repeat with another application of the paste and scrub a little more, then rinse again.
I’m always amazed at how well this works. This tip keeps my kitchen sink super clean and it’s extra cool that it doesn’t use any harsh chemicals.
If you give this tip a try, let me know how it works for you.
When I used to buy herbs, I always seemed to buy more than I needed. If I recipe called for 2 tbsp of fresh parsley, I never seemed to know what to do with the rest of the herbs, or how to keep them from wilting before I could use them up.
After much experimentation, I throw away way fewer herbs now.
Here is how to keep your herbs fresh –
For Parsley or Cilantro
When you get home from the grocery store, take the rubber band off of the bunch of herbs. Pick out all the wilted sprigs, then loosely roll the bunch of herbs in a few sheets of paper towel. Place the roll back inside of a closed ziploc bag and place in the fridge.
Every few days, take the herbs out of the refrigerator, pick out the wilted sprigs and roll the non-wilted herbs in a few new sheets of paper towel. Compost the old paper towels and your herbs will probably keep for at least a week. Make sure you put them in a spot in your fridge where they won’t accidentally get frozen.
Quick ways to use up Parsley – blend your extra parsley into a pesto with some garlic, almonds, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also add in kale, or basil, or cilantro to the pesto if you like. Tabbouleh is a great dish to make with excess parsley, and I’ll be posting a recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh soon.
You can also blend a handful of the parsley with an apple, lemon juice, honey, ginger, water, and blueberries for a smoothie that helps with inflammation and joint pain.
Quick ways to use up Cilantro – you can make pico di gallo with chopped onions, tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and freshly chopped cilantro.
For herbs in clam shells – pick out any wilted stems and leaves, then fold 1-2 paper towels so that they will fit inside the container. Take the herbs out the clam shell, place the folded paper towel on the bottom of the container, put the herbs on top of the paper towels and close the clam shell and place it in your fridge.
Every few days, take the herbs out, pick out the wilted bits, and replace the paper towel before placing it back in the fridge. The herbs should last a few days longer using this technique.
Quick ways to use up Mint – You can add extra mint to tabbouleh, or make a great tea with it. I like to drink mint tea in the morning as it wakes you up without caffeine, and it has a naturally sweet flavor, so you don’t need to add any sweeteners.
I usually add about 7 mint leaves and 2 mint stalks to 1.5 cups of hot water and let it steep for at least 3 minutes before drinking. I leave the mint in the tea as I drink it, but you can remove them from the cup if you like.
If you’ve ever known the struggle of baking cookies and not being able to get the little cap off of the vanilla extract bottle, this one’s for you.
Here’s the secret –
Wrap a few thin rubber bands around the cap of the vanilla extract. The rubber bands make the smooth metal of the cap easier to grip. The bottle of extract should be a breeze to open after that.
I use the rubber bands that come wrapped around vegetables like kale, or green onions, or bunches of cilantro or parsley. It’s a thrifty solution, and makes baking with vanilla extract much much easier.
This idea for this came to me when I was testing the recipe for the maple vanilla sugar cookies. For a moment I was concerned that I was not going to be able to get the cap off of the bottle of extract, and I actually thought for a second “Do I really need vanilla in this recipe?”
The answer was “Yes. You do need vanilla in maple vanilla sugar cookies.” So I had to come up with a solution pretty quickly, and here we are!
I hope that this kitchen tip helps you to never again be held back from your baking dreams by another difficult to open vanilla extract cap!
These days, most baby greens come prepackaged and washed in those plastic clam shells at the supermarket. They are super convenient, but the greens seem to always spoil quickly. As it turns out there is a very easy fix for this.
When you open the package, take 2-3 paper towels, fold them in half, and lay them on top of your greens before you close the lid and put them into the fridge. The paper towels absorb the excess moisture that can cause your greens to wilt more quickly. Every few days, check to see of the paper towels are damp. If they are, just replace them with new paper towels, and compost the used ones.
These baby spinach leaves really have been in my fridge for 2 weeks (that’s why the box is so empty, I’ve eaten most of it). This trick works great!
Different greens will have different shelf lives, even if you use this trick. Spring mix doesn’t last as long as the baby spinach does, but this will still work for that as well. This works very well for romaine lettuce, as it’s a sturdier lettuce.
I think that I’m going to post a new recipe every Saturday from now on. Occasionally I may write additional posts other days of the week. I have a number of tips for how to keep food fresh, and how to freeze foods that can spoil quickly, and I’m really excited to share those with you as well.
Please feel free to comment below, and let me know if this trick works for your lettuce too! I think that this must have saved me a small fortune (in baby greens) by now, and it feels great when you can make the most of the ingredients that you have.