Frozen Vegetables Are Hot!
Chill out: Veggies from the freezer are fast, easy and convenient
You're running around your kitchen trying to throw dinner together on a busy
weeknight, coordinating what's simmering on the stove with washing the fruit
and remembering when to pick up the kids from soccer practice. Suddenly, you
realize you've forgotten the vegetables!
No worries. Just pop open your freezer and see which vegetable goes best
with your entree. Six minutes later, your micro-steamed veggies are ready to
take their proud place on the dinner table.
This scenario happens more often than I want to admit at my house. Frozen
veggies come in handy year-round, but I especially rely on them during the
winter months, when it's slim pickings in the produce section. Industry
statistics show that frozen vegetable sales peak from November and April, with
the highest sales coming during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
In winter, it may not be the quality of the fresh produce that scares us off
as much as the price. Frozen vegetable prices, though, are fairly stable
throughout the year. And it's tough to beat the convenience of keeping several
bags of frozen vegetables sitting in the freezer, with not a worry in the world
about having to use them before they turn brown.
Nutritionally speaking, frozen veggies are similar to -- and sometimes
better than -- fresh ones. This makes sense, considering that these veggies are
usually flash-frozen (which suspends their "aging" and nutrient losses)
immediately after being harvested. Frozen veggies were often picked in the peak
of their season, too.
I ran a nutritional comparison on both fresh and frozen broccoli florets
(uncooked), and the frozen broccoli contained a bit more vitamin A, vitamin B2,
vitamin C, and folic acid. A recent
government study found no change in amounts of folic acid found in veggies
after 12 months of freezing. So don't let nutrition stop you from buying
Elaine's Personal Picks
Let's face it, certain vegetables manage the stress of being frozen rather
than heated better than others. Take peas, for instance. I'm not a "pea
person"; my mom forced me to eat peas when I was really young and I think I
will be forever influenced by this dinner trauma. But still, I have them around
for adding to soups, fried rice, and casseroles. And what would I do without
frozen chopped spinach for some of my all-time favorite dishes, like spinach
garlic dip and spinach lasagna?