5 minute onions in a flash (freeze)

Life’s a little busy this week, so I’m going to combine my posts for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays and Works for Me Wednesdays .

I mentioned before – I LOVE my Vidalia Chop Wizard! Last time I showcased this wonderful little gadget, someone commented that they were surprised that it could handle tougher veggies, like onions and carrots, so I thought I’d show how the chop wizard handles onions. Notice that I’m using the smaller chopping grate this time and check out the time on the little red clock.

5 minutes onions before

5 minute onions after

Again, I PROMISE you – I did NOT touch that little red clock! I just LOVE this thing! Chopped onions really are a breeze!

But you probably noticed I didn’t finish all three onions. I actually filled up the chop wizard and had to stop to complete my “onion chopping ritual,” so I thought I’d go ahead and include it in this post as well. I usually chop onions in bulk to freeze, but I only had three today. Here’s what I do:

I chop all the onions I’ve got, either using the chop wizard OR, when I’m really in a hurry, I use my Oster food processor attachment. (I have a 1990 Oster Kitchen Center, but for smaller jobs, I keep my 2003 Oster blender on the counter because it takes most of the same attachments. Isn’t it cool that the attachments are interchangeable?) Anyway, I had an extra 5 minutes today and I really prefer the onions chopped in nice little squares – they’re just prettier than the shredded onion that the food processor produces.

Oster Food Processor Attachment

Then, I lay out the chopped onions on a large metal cookie sheet for flash freezing. Flash freezing refers to the freezing technique where you lay out something individually, best on a metal cookie sheet (it gets colder much faster than a cutting board), and freeze it quickly. It keeps the food from sticking together in a big frozen ball of goo. REALLY great for freezing any kind of berry!

flash freeze prep

flash freezing onions

Then, I sit here for about a half an hour and write this post. (besides, I need my coffee.) I usually leave the onions in longer because I forget about them. If you can leave them for an hour or two, that’s actually better. I once left them in overnight with no problems. At a minimum, you want ice crystals to form.

Reading Spot

When the onions are frozen, I move them from the cookie sheet into something better for freezer storage, such as a Ziploc bag. I stack the bags in the freezer and because they are flat, they take up very little space. (I was going to include a photo of the frozen onions on the cookie sheet, but you can’t see the ice crystals, so it just looks the same as the pre-frozen cookie sheet photo.)

onion stack

Later, when a recipe calls for onion, I’m ready! They defrost really fast! I leave the bag on the counter for a few minutes and when I take the slab of onion out of the the Ziploc, it just crumbles.

It Works for Me!

Check out more great ideas at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!
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22 thoughts on “5 minute onions in a flash (freeze)

  1. I also do this with Green Peppers. I just scoop out what I need to use for each recipe.

    Me too! I also do it with ground beef and veggie/chicken stock! I’ve even got jalapeños in the freezer right now. I needed them for a recipe, so I just bought and chopped extra. (by JSM)

  2. When I discovered the benefit of flash freezing, I thought myself Julia Child. I use it often. Do you have a similar tip though for flash freezing fresh herbs? Mine seem to lose their herb-iness once frozen. Thanks.

    I actually had heard of freezing herbs in ice cube trays with a little water, but I wonder if the flash freezing would work for herbs as well. I did a quick Google search and came up with both instructions in one article on about.com. (by JSM)

  3. Holy cow, you’re a genius!

    yeahhhh no. Just a freakishly organized version of LAZY. I used to chop one onion whenever I needed it, crying and cleaning up a mess every time. Then I had the idea to get it over with in one big onion chopping frenzy, but when I froze the onions they turned out mushy. So . . . I bought a book on freezing food (from Goodwill, of course). That’s where I learned about flash freezing. Works GREAT for strawberries! (by JSM)

  4. Love it! Of course I don’t have the chopper but I do have an absolutely wonderful knife that I can use.

    Me too! Did you see my beautiful ceramic knife in the photo? FirstHusband gave it to me for Christmas two years ago. He was often heard saying: “You know you really love a woman when you give her a very big knife.” (by JSM)

  5. Does it make your freezer smell onion-y while it’s freezing, or while it is in the bag?
    It seems like a great idea because I hate chopping onions and pretty much always use my food processor for them!

    You know, I never really noticed, so I stuck my head in the freezer, just for you! When I stand in front of the freezer, I don’t smell anything, but by the time I move my head to where the onions were, I do smell them – but faintly. I really have never noticed, so it must not do anything to the surrounding food. You’ll have to see if the smell is too strong for you. (by JSM)

  6. I love this idea! Within the last year I learned about freezer cooking, and love to hear new things that I can freeze! Thanks for the good tip!

  7. Awesome idea! I wondered if that really worked – gonna go buy one! They just happen to be on sale this week at CVS.

    Make sure you get the one with two grate sizes – I’ve seen it sold with only one before. Hope you like it! (by JSM)

  8. Aha!!! So, THAT’S the best way to do it … Flash Freezing … I often wondered how they did the chicken at Costco (the frozen bagged stuff). Whenever I’ve frozen onions, they’ve come out a big globby mess!

    I’ll be doing this over the summer! Thanks for the awesome tip!

  9. Ha! I just did this with a 10 lb bag of onions, it was soooo insanely convenient for making dinner last night that I have no clue why I didn’t do it before.

    I had wondered about those chopping wizards, looks like they really do the trick, very cool!

  10. hey thanks for the tip im always looking for ways to save money..we use a lot of onions..but i also throw a lot out well thanks to u things are going to change..if you have any more time and money saving tips please im me..and thanks again…next time do somthing with cabage…lol

  11. i have a quick and easy way to save your soggy plums..lol and a promice they will turn out tasty..and around feb when your craving a plum you just pull them out of the freezer and there you go…here goes…. par boil about 8 med plums..3min..soak in cold water to cool, peel and pit..put back in small pan with 1 cup water, 1 half cup sugar, table spoon of lemon juice,table spoon cinnomon..slow cook till plums are soft…cool freeze..thats it great over ice cream or will even make a great cobbler in feb or a tasty (thanks giving desert)

  12. I use the freezer for cheese. We have a store here in Chicago that sells shredded cheese for $1 per bag about every 2 months. Throw them in the freezer, they won’t go bad, and you can just pull out the shredds and use instantly. (This won’t work with blocks, too thick, but shredds work great!) I also cook up huge pans of beans, drain and freeze them. You don’t have to flash freeze them, just drain and put in zip locks. Heathier and a lot cheaper than canned beans. (I do black beans, kidney, garbanzo and navy…you’ll always have beans on hand.)

  13. Thank you so much for the flash freeze idea for onions. Usually my onions ruin because I don’t cook that much but would like to have some on hand when needed.

    What I am concerned about is celery. I cook for one or two people at a time but you have to buy a whole bunch of celery and of course it ruins. Can celery be frozen as onions are? Just something I would like to know for have a receipe I would like to try for Easter and do not wish to buy so much celery.

    Thanks for any help.

    Betsy – Yes, you actually can freeze celery! It won’t be good raw after thawing, but it would still be good for cooked recipes. Check out THIS ARTICLE. Personally, I would try freezing celery exactly as I do onions. (by JSM)

  14. I really prefer the onions chopped in nice little squares – they’re just prettier than the shredded onion that the food processor produces.
    How can I create that? Does a food processor have such an attachment?

  15. Thanks so much. I linked to you today in my blog because it was so easy to flash freeze my onions that’s to your post. Keep the good stuff coming!

  16. Thanks for this! I have the chopper you used and I tried freezing and did it all wrong. I was so disappointed but now I have the answer! wheeee! 😉

  17. Thanks for the idea. I am always throwing out half of an onion, because I don’t remember when I put it in a baggie in the refrigerator and I don’t know how long before it spoils.

  18. Flash freezing works excellently for whole or sliced mushrooms. Put cookie sheet in
    freezer to get cold. Wash whole mushrooms gently under cool water, air dry on paper towels, slice or keep whole and place in single layer on cold cookie sheet in freezer for 20-30 minutes. Loosen with metal spatula and return to freezer for 20-30 minutes, loosen and put in freezer bags. Handy for any recipes. Hint: when waiting on freezing time, you can do other things….ooooor…RELAX with or without a good book. I did a lug/case in a couple of hours. : )

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