Category Archives: Storage and Preservation

Canning, freezing, and drying- if you can get it when it’s cheap, and preserve it, it can save you tons!

Now’s the Time to Stock up on Bell Peppers

This last week I’ve been busy filling my freezer with bell peppers. It seems a lot of the dishes I like best have bell peppers in them – Italian, Curries, Mexican – like fajitas, and Cajun. Yes, I like spicy food!

I get so tired of paying over $1.00 each for bell peppers, and who can afford a red bell pepper for $2.59? That’s how high I saw them last winter. The local farmer’s markets recently had a lot of bell peppers 2/$1, and the beautiful colored peppers 3/$2. I grabbed a bunch. Kroger in the Southeast has them for .59 cents each now as well, if you don’t have access to a farmer’s market or need to be able to pay with food stamps.

They are actually very easy to store and freeze, and I find it not only more economical, but also a good time saver. It’s so nice to just be able to reach in and get what I need, pre-cut, and ready! That’s why I cut my peppers in a variety of shapes. Some I dice, some I cut in long strips, and others I cut in bigger square chunks.

Select large, unblemished peppers at the lowest price you can find. Late September, early October is a great time to buy them.

First wash the peppers:

Then pat them dry with a paper towel and cut them in shapes that you cook with.
Lay them in a single layer in a shallow pan or on a cooking sheet. I use wax paper to line mine.

Then simply place in the freezer for an hour or two. Take them out, and place them in a resealable container. I use the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids.

That’s really all there is to it. Now when you’re ready to cook, just open your container and take what you need. Freezing them this way keeps them all separate so they don’t clump up.

They taste great in cooked food and are a real timesaver. Over the winter, we’ll save a lot by having a good supply of bell peppers in the freezer, so we don’t have to pay twice or more when we need one. The only exception is when fresh peppers are needed, but for us, that’s pretty rare.

Onions can be frozen the same way. There are other ways of storing onions, so for me the main benefit of freezing them is to save time in food prep, or for saving onions that are leftover, for instance, when a recipe calls for half an onion. IF I don’t think I’ll use the other half soon, I go might go ahead and cut the whole thing, then freeze half of it.

Freezing Rice & Beans – Save Time & Money

I like to cook homemade food, but sometimes I just want quick and easy, you know? Especially on what is known as ‘Mama-TV night” which is Thursday, because I like to watch Vampire Diaries and catch up on recorded stuff I’ve missed. Wednesday nights we often have company. Kids are in and out all weekend – sometimes time is really worth a lot.

Beans and rice are something that I’ve learned can be made in a BIG pot and then frozen. Rice is especially great for doing this – it’s often easy to cook a huge pot, then freeze batches for other meals. Fried rice is MUCH better if you have cold rice to start with. Freezing rice ahead of time makes it easy use other left overs – for instance, to make some soup, fried rice, or when I have some leftover meat to use in a recipe with rice.

I make my rice just like it says on the package and it always comes out great. I put the rice and the water in the pan, heat it to boiling, then turn it to low, cover it and forget it for 20 minutes. I don’t understand the NEED for Minute Rice or appliances like rice steamers to cook rice. The only tricks to good rice are to measure your water and rice out carefully, and to leave it alone once you cover it up, until the 20 minutes is up.

Small packs of Mahatma rice are often free or very close to it with coupons. Once it is cooked, let it cool down, and then just place it in a baggy. Remove any air you can before sealing the bag, and freeze! To use it, I just dip the bag of rice in some warm water to loosen it up, and then I put it in a pan. Personally, I don’t like to microwave anything in plastic. I did write Ziplock ® once though, and they told me they do not use the BPA in their plastics.

Homemade beans are great and dried beans are always a good deal, but I always make too much. You can freeze them in baggies for recipes like chili later on. 1 can is 15 ounces, so just put in 1 cup, then ALMOST 1 cup (7/8 of a cup), and you’ve got it, because 2 cups is 16 ounces. To me, one HUGE advantage of this is less clean up. I only have to wash ONE big pot one time.

Note – The lady in the video is NOT me, but I am trying to ‘place’ this accent. It seems close to ours, but not quite NW GA. She’ll show you how to freeze the beans.

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