Frozen produce sometimes gets a bad reputation when compared to fresh. Fresh produce has more nutrients, they say, and tastes better. While everyone has their own taste preferences, fresh produce may not in fact be healthier in some cases. Produce is like a car: it starts losing its value as soon as it leaves the lot (in this case, the farm). Depending on how far your produce travels, it could lose a good percentage of its nutrient value before it even hits your table.
Frozen produce, on the other hand, is often flash frozen soon after it’s picked, which helps retain all those vital nutrients and vitamins your body craves. Turns out frozen produce doesn’t deserve its bad rep’ after all.
But while you may be a pro at cooking fresh produce, frozen takes another set of skills. We’re here to set the record straight: what mistakes are you making that delude the flavor of your frozen fruits and veggies?
- You think you must defrost before you cook. This is an unnecessary step and only adds time. With frozen veggies, all you need to do is through them in the pan and cook them up! Herbs should definitely not be defrosted, as they lose their structure in the freezer. Add the frozen stuff to your cooking and presto – instant meal.
- You think all frozen produce needs to be cooked before consumption. Think again! Not all frozen fruits and veggies need to be cooked. You may be familiar with throwing frozen fruit in a smoothie, but you can also simply run cold water over broccoli, corn, and snap peas to heat them to room temperature and throw them on a salad. No cooking needed!
- You don’t read the package for cooking instructions. Not all veggies need to cook for the same length of time in order to heat them. Cooking corn and broccoli for the same length of time, for instance, isn’t ideal. Larger chunks like broccoli need a little more time, while corn is a quick cook.
- You only cook them in a microwave. Sure, microwaves are super fast and easy – that’s their goal. However, like any form of heat, leaving the produce in the microwave for too long sucks away some of the nutrients, and that’s much easier with a set-it-and-forget-it microwave. Try stovetop cooking instead; this also gives you more freedom to add spices and herbs to up the flavor ante.
- You don’t buy frozen produce at all! As we mentioned before, many stay away from frozen produce due to the nutrient and taste argument. But with the tips and tricks we’ve listed out above, your frozen fruits and veggies are guaranteed to taste divine. Even better: they’re typically cheaper than fresh produce, and last so much longer. The benefits abound!
How do you cook frozen produce to make it taste its best? Let us know in the comments below.