For Fast Flavor, Batch Cook Onions And Freeze In Ice Cube Trays

Onions are part of the foundation of flavor for many recipes. According to Statista, Americans ate an average of 20 pounds of these veggies in 2021. So what is it about onions that makes them so delicious? Harold McGee wrote in his book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, "The key to the onion family's appeal is a strong, often pungent, sulfury flavor whose original purpose was to deter animals from eating the plants." McGee explains that when you cook onions, those flavors change not only because you are cooking them but how you cook onions can influence their taste.

Grill, sauté, fry, or caramelized onions, and they will impart a new depth of umami to your taste buds. The aromatics of this bulb vegetable and its sweet and savory essence contribute to the flavor of a good broth or stir fry. Onions are a must-have topping for a burger, that something extra in with mashed potatoes, pasta sauces, and so much more. But prepping an onion for use can take time. Having to slice, dice, and cook onions on a busy weeknight can be just that extra step that spurs you to choose takeout instead. That's why you may want to consider batch-cooking onions and freezing them in ice cube trays for quick use.

Embrace the ice cube tray

Making more caramelized onions than you plan to use can turn into a timesaver for future cooking. After all,  caramelizing any vegetable takes a lot of patience and TLC, but when you make onions in big batches and freeze them for later use, they will be ready to go, and it will be one less stress when you are preparing a meal. (Not to mention you are more likely to use just the amount you need, which cuts down on food waste.)

It's also easy to do. Simply break out those ice cube trays and load up the compartments with the leftover onions. Stick them in the freezer, and once they have solidified, simply pop them out into a freezer-safe container, and you are in business the next time you need them. If you are worried that you are worried you might be sacrificing taste by using the convenience hack, don't. 

Even Nigella Lawson subscribes to this practice and gives it her seal of approval. Lawson revealed on her website that she likes to "soften" chopped onions in a fat. She then allows them to cool before freezing them in an ice cube tray for later use. And you can do the same thing with your chopped-up garlic. So embrace those ice cube trays and save time in the kitchen.