What kind of temp r u trying to achieve? I do a half decent amount of cooking on my small without the daisy wheel. Just throttle down the lower vent opening according to where u want to be, it will take a bit of practice but you'll get it.
I am growing some of my own, 3 plants were doing just fine, until some critter came in the night and bite the main stem of all 3 plants, left them in the planter and they are growing again. To answer your question, a buddy of mine, freezes his and them uses them through out the winter. Haven't tried it my self yet. Ya might try that.