I cook a lot and one thing I am constantly battling with is waste and spoilage. How does one keep ingredients fresh and usable while ensuring they are on hand when you need them? I recently learned a few tricks that I wanted to share with everyone.
I cook quite frequently with green onions. It is a staple in many asian recipes, but unfortunately they do not keep well in the fridge. If you leave them in the bag or put them in the crisper, they usually become wilted and limp in a few days. I have found that the amazing thing about green onions is that you can cut them down pretty close to the bottom, and put what you've got left in a glass jar with some water and they just regrow. You just need to remember to change the water every day and put it out on your window sill or somewhere that gets light. I find that they will completely regrow at least two times. This way I almost always have green onion on hand, and there is far less wastage. What I do is when I cook I wash and dry, then trim all the tops off to the quantity that I need and put them in a jar.
Do you cook with mint? I find that mint is quite amazing, and seems to just grow for a long time in just a jar of water. When I buy mint I simply throw it in a jar and place in a window. I was amazed to see roots grow from the stems in a matter of days. I'm not a gardener, but I'm pretty sure if I planted mint outside it would grow like a weed.
I cook with ginger once in awhile, but find that the best ginger is usually the big pieces. Unfortunately when I buy the big pieces, a lot of it ends up shrivelling up and going to waste before I can use it all. To address this, what I do is peel the ginger and put it in the food processor/blender and finely chop it. I lay it into the middle of two or three sheets of paper towels or use a cheese cloth, and squeeze the moisture out into a bowl. The liquid I use in a recipe in need of ginger juice, but the mince ginger I find can be kept in a container in the fridge for a week or so, and longer in a container in the freezer.
I know that it is easy to have a small hebr garden and some can even grow these in their kitchens, but I'm really not much of a gardener. Do you have any similar kind of tips and tricks that you use to make sure you have fresh herbs to use on hand?