As mentioned earlier, frozen food products have begun staging a gradual comeback. In the past, many people didn’t think twice about shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables. However, increasing awareness levels about the nutritional value that frozen foods offer has made many people change their minds and shopping preferences. As a result, more and more people have begun returning to the frozen foods section in malls and supermarkets all over the country.
In many cases, the convenience of purchasing frozen foods remains the biggest attraction of these food items. Frozen fruits and vegetables pack similar amounts, if not more, of nutrients as compared to fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, portioning and preparing frozen foodstuffs remains easier. Furthermore, if you love some seasonal fruits and vegetables, the chances remain high that you will miss them when they go out of season. However, you can always purchase their frozen varieties to savour their flavour at any time during the year. For these reasons, consumers have slowly started shedding their reluctance towards purchasing frozen produce.
In conjunction with dried herbs and spices, frozen vegetables and fruits can be a useful addition in your kitchen. Frozen vegetables and fruits can speed up the food preparation process significantly. For starters, you will not need to wash the frozen produce. Moreover, you will not need to do much to prepare the frozen food items either. But, you will need to consider various aspects when you cook frozen vegetables. Among other things, you will need to ensure that you cook these items in a manner that enables them to remain tasty and retain their nutritional value.
Having said that, even the best of chefs can go wrong when preparing dishes comprising frozen vegetables and fruits. Some of the most common mistakes include:
- Cooking All Your Frozen Vegetables: Not all frozen vegetables require cooking. Quite possibly, you will be able to consume some frozen vegetables after thawing them. For instance, frozen corn can be ideal for adding to your salads. Similarly, you could consider pureeing frozen cauliflower into a smoothie. Frozen peas do not require much cooking either. Just add them to any dish you’re making and boil or fry them lightly.
- Treating All Frozen Vegetables Identically During the Food Preparation Process: Some people make the mistake of preparing all their frozen vegetables in the same manner. Doing so can actually be a big mistake. In some cases, this treatment could mar the taste or look of the dish you’re preparing. Therefore, ensure that you treat frozen vegetables as recommended by cooks and culinary experts. Some vegetables (like spinach) requires a quick thaw and draining to ensure that it doesn’t add additional moisture to the dish. Similarly, you could add some frozen vegetables (like peas) immediately to the dish. Defrosting these vegetables could make them limp. So, when making dishes that can absorb a little extra moisture, toss the frozen vegetable in without thawing it. Similarly, if you’re consuming the frozen vegetable raw or need to avoid excessive moisture levels in the dish, consider thawing the frozen vegetable first.
- Using the Microwave to Thaw Your Frozen Vegetables: It can be worth mentioning that microwaving fine food products such as frozen vegetables can do more damage than good. It can leave your vegetables limp and mushy. And, in some cases, it could affect the flavour and taste of the vegetables too. Boiling your frozen vegetables can yield similar results. So, consider roasting your frozen vegetables lightly instead.
- Overlooking the Need to Adjust Cooking Times: In many cases, frozen vegetables end up cooking more quickly than their fresher varieties. For instance, fresh cauliflower, carrots, broccoli etc. will usually be firmer when fresh than when frozen. So, when cooking frozen vegetables, ensure that you adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Culinary experts and chefs believe that when roasting or stir-frying frozen vegetables, you should halve the cooking time. Similarly, if you plan to add the frozen vegetables to soups or curries, add them during the last few minutes of cooking and stir them.