The Seasoning Base You Should Always Have In Your Freezer

Seasoning bases are often so simple and common that you may not even think of them as a specific ingredient. The French mirepoix — onions, carrots, and celery — is the classic example, an aromatic mix that is conceptualized as one addition, the sum greater than the individual parts, like a pre-mixed spice blend, and used in any number of dishes. According to Taste of Home, the aromatics in seasoning bases provide a foundational layer of flavor, add complexity to a recipe, and are so fundamental that they've grown to encompass a huge amount of regional variations like the Cajun holy trinity, Thai curry paste, or German suppengrün.

Once you think of how common and important these seasoning bases are, you'll understand why you want to have them on hand, and your freezer is a great tool for that. Of course, as a cook, you may have already packed your freezer with common staples like homemade stock or easy recipe upgrades like green chiles. However, frozen aromatic bases fit in great alongside them, making sure you are never more than a few minutes away from starting up some hearty soups and braises. So which seasoning bases should you have on hand in your freezer at all times?

Sofrito is your new go-to seasoning mix

If you want something a step above your standard mirepoix, you need to start making and storing sofrito. Originating from Spain, sofrito has evolved as it spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, taking on new spices and ingredients to suit local tastes but retaining its basic use as a flavor base to be sauteed at the start of a meal (per The Spruce Eats). You can use the basic recipe or get inspired by local variations and add things like tomatoes and chili peppers. According to Food52, all you need to do is simply pulse your ingredients — onion, garlic, bell peppers, green onions, and cilantro — in a food processor or blender, then freeze the mix as one piece and cut off however much you need for a given recipe.

Once you have sofrito in your freezer, you shouldn't hesitate to use it for everything. It makes a great base for some comforting chicken and rice, or it can add some extra zip to your beef stew. One big advantage sofrito has over mirepoix is that it can also be a condiment, spooned over meat or fish as a brightening last touch (per MasterClass). Any place you might use a mirepoix is a great place to start experimenting with sofrito, and with it so easy to pluck out of the freezer at any time, you have no excuse not to try.