Why Frozen Produce Will Always Be the Real MVP of Weeknight Cooking

I grew to become a frozen fruits and veggies gal as a result of of a field of frozen spinach. Moreover the massive bag of inexperienced peas I saved behind the ice cream in case of knee or ankle damage, I was a “contemporary produce solely” particular person, and type of a snob about it. I thought-about managing the decline of my weekly grocery haul from picture-perfect to past-its-prime an moral accountability. I spent as a lot time cooking for enjoyable as I did making mishmashed dinners out of a determined want to make use of up all the miscellaneous vegetables and fruit earlier than they went dangerous.

It was the tactical and logistical puzzle of grocery purchasing throughout the pandemic that modified my tune. Now I do know the reality—that frozen produce is simply nearly as good as contemporary, and typically even higher and extra cost-efficient.

In the spring of 2020, two issues occurred concurrently: I needed to gradual my purchasing journeys to twice month-to-month for security, and I attempted Priya Krishna’s saag feta recipe for the first time. Regardless of my finest efforts, little or no contemporary produce may survive all the method till my subsequent trek to the market, so I began shopping for frozen as an alternative. And once I put a field of frozen spinach to make use of in Priya’s brilliant, comforting dish, I used to be without end modified. With a freezer full of spinach, I may have this greens-packed, weeknight-friendly meal every time I needed, with no particular purchasing journey required or timeline hooked up to make use of the contemporary greens earlier than they went slimy. I grew to become a frozen produce lover, branching out from spinach to combine inexperienced beans, berries, and even that languishing bag of peas extra readily into my rotation.

Listed here are three the reason why you need to be packing your freezer with vegetables and fruit for last-minute meals every time the temper strikes you, with no compromise on taste.

They received’t go dangerous on you

Bringing a quart of strawberries or few bunches of broccoli into your kitchen can go from inspiring to traumatic actually rapidly; with a full fridge comes the added stress of utilizing all of it earlier than issues go fuzzy or limp. Frozen produce eliminates that ticking clock, so you may chip away at an enormous bag of blueberries by yourself timeline, smoothie by smoothie (talking from expertise right here), with no concern that you just’ll let any go to waste. Like something you retain at icy temperatures, you’ll should watch out about resealing packaging and utilizing hermetic containers to stop freezer burn, however basically, frozen produce is far decrease upkeep than the contemporary stuff.

They’re completely ripe

Freezer aisle vegetables and fruit are (pun kind of supposed) frozen in time at the completely peak second of freshness, so each peach wedge or leaf of spinach is as flavorful as attainable—not one thing you may say for contemporary produce that may get goopy or battered on account of temperature fluctuations or tough dealing with in transit. When a recipe requires one thing you might have frozen, you may ensure that post-thaw it is going to be as good-tasting as a contemporary model on its best possible day.

They carry out simply in addition to contemporary

Some vegetables and fruit are significantly simple to work with frozen, such that they get particular callouts in recipes (we’re taking a look at you, “contemporary or frozen peas” or “contemporary or frozen raspberries”). However with slightly foresight, something frozen will be built-in right into a recipe that requires the similar factor contemporary.

Transfer a bag from the freezer to the fridge the evening earlier than you intend to make use of it if a full thaw is required, or stick the produce itself in a strainer and run it beneath heat water in the event you simply must take the icy edge off earlier than including it to a baked good batter. For grain or pasta dishes, you may add peas, corn, inexperienced beans, broccoli, and extra straight from the freezer to the pot of boiling water a minute or two in the beginning else is completed, then drain all of it collectively and proceed as regular.

The extra you’re employed with frozen produce, the higher you’ll get at shepherding every merchandise from chilly to sizzling—a talent I now contemplate simply as vital as utilizing up a contemporary bunch of kale earlier than it’s compost-bound.

Put your freezer to work:

Image may contain Plant Bowl Food Vegetable Produce Dish Meal Cutlery Spoon and Pea  - fregola with green peas mint and ricotta - Why Frozen Produce Will Always Be the Real MVP of Weeknight Cooking
Fregola with Inexperienced Peas, Mint, and Ricotta

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Image may contain Plant Food Pizza and Bread  - raspberry ricotta cake - Why Frozen Produce Will Always Be the Real MVP of Weeknight Cooking

There’s nothing like a moist, fluffy, berry-streaked cake to make any weeknight (or, um, weekday morning) really feel particular.

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Image may contain Cutlery Spoon Vegetable Food Plant and Spinach  - Saag Paneer but with Feta - Why Frozen Produce Will Always Be the Real MVP of Weeknight Cooking
Saag Paneer, However With Feta

This riff on the basic dish swaps paneer out for salty chunks of feta (however retains the garlicky spiced spinach sauce).

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