Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Secret of the College Cook: Frozen Chopped Onions

Hmmmmm...some dissonance between the first part and the second part of the title there! Seriously, though, my onion breakthrough is second only to my rice cooker breakthrough.

To recap: out of love for my daughter, and a general frugal bent, I have been trying to figure out how college students can cook easily, cheaply, and well--without a stove.

Nearly every recipe--including those in rice cooker cookbooks--begins "Chop an onion" or include "large onion, chopped" in the ingredient list. How could we cook without onions?

Let us look at the labor behind "chop an onion":
--you have to buy an onion
--this required a trip to the store
--either you have to go to the store NOW or you have an onion, hopefully not too old
--you have to chop it
--so you need a knife and a cutting board
--then you have to wash off the cutting board and knife
--then you have to suffer with the smell of onion on your hands and in your cooking area
--and the knife

And now, you have your "onion, chopped."

Let us look at the College Cooking Crash Course philosophy of the "onion, chopped."
--you went to the store a while back and bought FROZEN CHOPPED ONIONS
--you measure out a cup

And now you have your "onion, chopped."

If you are a daredevil cook, you don't even need the measuring cup, thereby eliminating one step.

Oh, how trivial this may seem! But to the College Cook, having that "onion, chopped" is the result of many small, time-consuming, annoying tasks.

One of the fun parts of testing recipes for you, College Cooks, has been my discovery and use of frozen chopped onions. I have not chopped a single onion for, well, weeks. With the time I've saved, I've read a novel: Dead Souls, by Gogol. It is, in my opinion, a masterpiece.


  1. Same applies to chopped garlic, which you can get in small jars.

    A friend found a chopped garlic-and-ginger combination. She used it in a stir-fry with eggplant the other evening -- it was very good!

  2. @Funny--I read somewhere that chopped garlic in oil is prone to botulism...can this be true??? I just throw in whole cloves of garlic--I figure they work as bouillon cubes.