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Posted on Feb 3, 2008 in Freezing, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Parent Hacks, Tips, Vegetarian | 51 comments

Speed tip: Freeze chopped green onions in plastic drink bottles

Speed tip: Freeze chopped green onions in plastic drink bottles


I’ve written previously about freezing chopped green onions or fresh herbs to speed up prep time and reduce spoilage, but a twist is using plastic drink bottles as handy dispensers. When freezing chopped green onions, put them into an old water bottle that you’ve washed, and use a permanent marker to label the bottle cap with the contents. Freeze. To use, simply remove the cap, shake out just as much as you need, replace the cap and return to the freezer. The clear bottle allows you to quickly see what’s inside, and shaking things out of a bottle is faster than spooning them out of a freezer container. I use them in cooked dishes like fried rice, microwave mixed rice, soups, curries or scrambled egg purses — you name it.


Freezing chopped green onions in plastic drink bottles

Freezing herbs for quick cooking

Remember that moisture is your enemy in freezing, so be sure to dry the green onions thoroughly before chopping to prevent freezer burn. I used a large funnel to get the chopped scallions into the bottle, but you could also cut another plastic bottle in half around the middle and turn it over on top of the larger bottle, creating a do-it-yourself funnel. Green onions do become a bit soft in freezing, so they’re best used in cooked dishes as opposed to salads. Use within three weeks of freezing for best quality.

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  1. That’s brilliant.

    I’ve got two bunches in the crisper that are dying for the freezing treatment.

    Great tip, Biggie, thanks!

  2. I just discovered your website and am very excited by it. I feel inspired to learn how to create bento boxes to take to work (I’m very, very bored with the things I usually bring for lunch). I’ve subscribed to your feed and look forward to more inspiration!

  3. What a smart idea!

  4. Thanks for this tip! I am always sad about how fast green onions wilt in the fridge and this looks like a very easy way to save them.

  5. I love this idea! I never use up all the scallions before they turn, and I can’t believe I didn’t think to freeze them. But this idea is even better! Thanks!


  6. @1 from Kari: Ooh, perfect. Chop ‘em up before they rot!

  7. @2 from Kathee: Thanks, Kathee, and welcome! Feel free to leave comments or questions even on old posts; I keep up with them via the Recent Comments widget in the right-hand column.

  8. @3 from Nicole: Thanks, Nicole! It’s a pretty standard tip in Japanese-language freezing books — I’ve seen it in at least three different books now.

  9. @5 from Amber in Portland: I don’t think frozen green onions are a total substitute for fresh because of the texture issue, but I certainly take advantage of freezing them when they’re on the verge of going off because I didn’t use them up fast enough. The trick is in being smart about which dishes to use them in (i.e. cooked dishes, not fresh/raw).

  10. @6 from Sadaf Trimarchi: Thanks, Sadaf! Definitely use them fresh while they’re still nice, but as you say, freezing is a good way to save them before they go bad forever…

  11. I’d have guessed that they would freeze togeter to a big block that couldn’t be shaked out of it’s container…

    I really have to try it.

  12. Awesome tip. I finally have a use for the water bottles I hoard because I hate sending them to the landfill.

    An easy funnel tip is to cut the top off a plastic milk jug, leaving the jugs handle attached. You can slip smaller funnels inside it, and the handle gives you a steadier hand and prevents burning with hot items.

  13. @12 from Balu: No, I tried it — no big block. The trick is to dry them as much as possible before freezing, and to give them a little shake once they’re frozen.

  14. @13 from Jenny: Nice tip on the milk jug funnel, thanks!

  15. What a wonderful idea! Too bad I have brown, soggy onions in my fridge. ;) I’ll definitely remember to save a water bottle -plus, I’m so glad to know that fresh herbs can be chopped and frozen, too. Thanks, Biggie! :)

  16. Hi! I’ve been reading this blog for a bit and ADORE the techs and recipes! I’ve only started packing bento for my hubby in the morning and man…6AM kills!

    Aside, this is a great idea! I’ll be sure to try it out the next time I get some herbs…and water bottles hahaa!

    Oh! I’ve also stumbled across some Lock&Lock containers!
    I’m not sure whether this is solely a Pennsylvania shopping chain or not, but if it’s available across the nation, GIANT has a very good selection of Lock&Lock containers!

  17. @16 from oh_mom: Argh, brown, soggy onions bad. Definitely check out some of the reader comments on the other entry on freezing herbs — there are some good ideas in there as well.

  18. @17 from Jenii: Thanks for the kind words, Jenii! Thanks also for the tip on the Lock & Locks at Giant — their website certainly doesn’t make it easy to find store locations, does it? Lock & Lock containers are great, I totally recommend them. Very durable, watertight, and good in the dishwasher (but a little plain-looking).

  19. You know, if you spread them out on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer for an hour, THEN stick them in the bottle, they’ll be dry and won’t clump. This works for berries, chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, and other veggies and fruits.

    I’m going to go home and slice those extra green onions tonight! Got my bottle all ready.

  20. What a fabulous idea! I just bought some green onions today that are getting the frozen treatment now!!
    If anyone has a Trader Joe’s near them - they sell frozen cubes of herbs (cilantro, parsley, green onions, ginger…) that are cheap and easy for popping into something you’re cooking.

  21. @20 from Cindi: You’re absolutely right about flash-freezing the green onions on a cookie sheet beforehand, but at the moment I can only dream of having that much flat, empty space in my freezer… :-)

  22. @21 from Monica: You might want to keep one or two fresh ones aside if you need their crisp, raw texture in anything you’re making. Good tip on the Trader Joe’s frozen herb cubes, or you can always make your own if you’re so inclined.

  23. This is great.
    It seems like a lot of people have extra green onions in their kitchen, I’m one of them :)
    I’m off to the kitchen to do some freezing before they turn brown and yucky.
    Thanks for the tip, you saved some onions from doom.

  24. @25 from Anat: Glad to hear I’m making a difference in the world, one bunch of green onions at a time! ;-)

  25. Wow. Such a simple idea, wish I thought of it. I love it. Thanks!

  26. @27 from Y.: My pleasure, Y, thanks!

  27. I’m so glad I found your website (stumbling). These are fantastic ideas. I always wondered if you could freeze cilantro as we can never use it all before it goes bad. I am assuming (from the photo above) that cilantro can be frozen the same way as the green onions?

  28. @29 from Foodaholic: Yes, you can freeze cilantro (coriander) the same way, but it takes more of a hit in terms of texture (get soggy, so suitable only for cooking, not sprinkling fresh over dishes). I have luck keeping cilantro washed, then rolled up inside of a length of paper towel, then inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If you can find cilantro with the roots still attached, it’ll keep longer as well. I read about people having good luck standing cilantro up inside of a cup with a little water at the bottom and a plastic bag over the top, but I have better luck with the paper towel method.

  29. Hi - I love the idea of a freezer shaker! Where I live has several versions of the “pop” bottle including wider-mouth versions for juice and such.

    That said, a cookie sheet and an afternoon or overnight to pre-freeze does not take much space. I tend to freeze sliced mushrooms, grape tomatoes,green onions,diced peppers, leftover sliced onions and tiny cubes of older cheese all on ONE cookie sheet or recycled foil plates and then put them in individual tupperware containers after they are frozen.

    I line each with sections of parchment or wax paper and these become my ‘funnels’. Then it is all done at once. Once a week is preferred as new produce replace the tired ones…

    The “shaker” aspect makes this method much more user friendly for adding to dishes where texture is not as important. Soups, stews, omelettes, some pizzas and marinated salads do not appear to recognize the difference!

    To me having them not freeze clumped together helps get it out of the “bottle-shaker”.

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

  30. What a cool idea! Now I know what to do with any extra scallions from the garden. Thanks!

  31. @35 from ~M: I haven’t tried freezing onions before, but my excellent Japanese freezing book (Shufu no Tomo’s Reito Hozon & Tsukaikiri Tokuwaza) says you can totally do it. They show three examples: sliced raw onions (in a freezer bag, squish/suck excess air out of the bag), sauteed or caramelized sliced onions (in a freezer bag, excess air removed from the bag), and salted sliced raw onions. Their conservative guide says to use up frozen raw onions within 2 weeks, and frozen cooked onions within 3 weeks (although this is a very conservative guide that’s looking for the peak flavor and quality — you could still eat them after this period).

  32. This is a great tip that I will use immediately, thanks! Plastic bottles are great when you can find ways to reuse them!

  33. Thanks for that tip. We planted too many onions and they’ve all come in at once (duh!~) and I didn’t know what to do with them! Thanks!

  34. Wow, I just stumbled on this website and I love it, I am going to go chop up my chives now and put it in an empty water bottle - great idea.

  35. I know a lot of people are very much against plastic bags but I live in a tiny trailer that has less floor space than an average one car garage, need less to say, my freezer space is small too.

    When I moved in I found a box of the “snack size” freezer bags. I have problems with very dry skin and any time I chop strongly scented foods it takes forever to get the smell out of my skin (Yes, I’ve tried lemons and stainless steel and all of it.) So when I DO chop up onions and garlic and ginger and green onions (and since it’s just ME here, I make several portions because I don’t need that much) I freeze them in those “snack size” baggies, label them, double wrap them ( and after usuing them keep the “exterior baggies” to become the “interior baggies” of the next set) and they fit very neatly in the corners I can’t get anything else to jam into in my freezer. It takes very little time on the counter or even in the fridge for things o thaw.

  36. this is very dangerous tip as i know freezing a bottle of water is not good because it has some chemicals that they dislove when you freeze it and these chemicals leads to cancer!

  37. my husband went over the top with onions this season; red & white and all ready to harvest @ the same time. We’re hoping to store the bulb and needed a way to make the greens last. Now we know! thanks so much (he’s all ready to plant more sets tomorrow!) ps.I love onions but note that onions right out of the ground are STRONGer flavor than anything you’ll ever find in the store.

  38. My favorite thing to do with extra green onions? Plant them? I keep a spare pot in the garden specifically for green onions. Most of the recipes I use either only use the greens (which I can then clip/let regrow) or will only use a couple of the whites at a time. Meanwhile, they not only keep, they grow, becoming big onions if I ignore them too long (oh, darn the bad luck!)

  39. This is so smart! I never use up all my scallions and hate that they go to waste. Thank you so much!

  40. I just found your site today and I am so lucky to find you. I have tried freezing cilantro and just removed what I needed, I never thought about all of the other possibilities. thanks for all the wonderful ideas!!

  41. Thank you for posting this! You are brilliant. I found your blog via Pinterest

  42. This is a great idea! Our green onions almost always go bad before we can eat them all. Thanks so much for sharing.

  43. For the onions, you can put the roots in a glass jar, in a sunlit window and they will continue to grow. You shouldn’t have to buy them again…or at least for a while!

  44. In the fall, I cut off all my chives, wash, dry, and cut them. I lay them on a cookie sheet and throw them in the freezer.
    When frozen, I transfer them to an old Parmesan shaker cheese container. I do this with my parsley too. I have chives and parsley all winter long.

  45. You should not freeze and unfreeze anything in plastic bottles. Do this at your own discretion.

  46. Hello,

    I’m an editor with Cook’s Illustrated magazine and I’m compiling kitchen quick tips. Would you be interested in having this tip included in the magazine? If so, please send your name and mailing address to me at danetteQT [AT] gmail [DOT] com. If your tip is chosen for publication, you will receive a free 1-year subscription.

  47. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

    FYI, the “freezing chopped green onions or fresh herbs” link doesn’t work…

  48. I have been doing bell peppers and onions (separately) for years. As you stated, make sure that you dry them well before freezing. I freeze mine in small Tupperware containers because they stack on top of each other for easy storage. I love homemade pizza made with pita bread, spaghetti sauce (that I freeze in ice trays for individual servings), mozzarella cheese, onions, bell peppers and pepperoni. I can easily make individual pizzas anytime I want. Love having peppers and onions anytime I need them for cooking.

  49. have been reading what people are saying about freezing green onions and I think its a great idea. My wife and I were discussing about freezing them and were going to use plastic sandwich bags but after reading about the water bottles I think that would be the best. Thanks for the information

  50. Dont forget to put your bottom part of the onion (the roots) in a glass of water to regrow your onions over and over. :)


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