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Is frozen veg any good?


Clipper
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Stupid question I know but I rarely use frozen stuff other than fish fingers (for the boy), fish fingers,lollies :D  and freezing batch cooking etc.

 

So I know some veg survive freezing better than some. My son loves broccoli and I buy it fresh usually but I don't like it and so it never goes to waste but it certainly gets a little soft/rubbery as time goes on. So I was considering frozen broccoli florets for convenience. When cooked on hob in hot water do they have same consistency and bite and flavour as fresh? I won't bother if they are going to go mushy.

 

ANd opening this out to other frozen veg does it all really work. I see frozen chopped onions and chillies and mashed potato etc. I personally use those fresh or cook them for myself but can see that they might make sense financially frozen (ok not the mashed potato) :D Is there any loss in quality compared to fresh?

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I've got a freezer full of frozen veg and fruit. Got to pick your uses as the freezing process does cause some water cells to burst giving that softer texture, but on the plus side a lot of frozen fruit/veg will not be as old as the fresh stuff sold in the shops, as it gets frozen much closer to the point of picking.

 

Anything going into a blended sauce is fine, for example celery as a base in a stew/soup - saves massively on waste. For smoothies the fruit is convenient, not much different price wise and far easier for things like pineapple. Pucks of spinach are great for space saving over those giant pillow bags full of nothing when fresh, good for chucking into curries or soups.

 

I've got a bag with all sorts of chillis, really handy to have them on demand and pots of garlic cloves, bits of ginger and turmeric ready to go into all sorts.

 

I'm a big fan but won't say it's always the answer.

 

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In my opinion, it works a quick, easy fix but is rarely as satisfying as fresh veg (as it should be)

 

Shout out to those bags of frozen "mixed veg" that always seem to contain loads of cubed carrots adorned with black corners and discoloured bits.

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I think the answer is a bit of an "it depends" with that being based on the specific veg and also what/ how you are cooking with it.

 

Some veg is pretty universally good frozen such as peas, sweetcorn and spinach.  Other stuff does not work as well, broad beans always seem funny to me, green beans always come out really watery as does cauliflower and broccoli although you can mitigate that with reduced cooking times and/ or the specific meal you are making.  I've not bothered with frozen carrot or onion as they keep for ages fresh anyway.

 

I freeze my own for some stuff that I get cheap in 'ethnic' shops like ginger and chilli and also fresh herbs like coriander and mint.

 

When it comes to fruit it is great for certain things like smoothies or anything else "mushed" like a fruit pie filling or with porridge but it's no good at all for anything where you want "whole fruit" after defrosting

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Frozen peas are much better than tinned ones. Frozen leeks have worked well so far, alhough they are chopped kinda randomly, so you'll get enormous rounds alongside small fragments, and may need to work on the bigger bits with a knife to get even cooking time (probably one of the better ones though - cheaper by weight, no wastage, no time spent washing and prepping - they'll be a constant for me from now on as one of my favourite veg).

 

I'm using frozen peppers in my store cupboard challenge, and they've worked OK in the soups and stews I've tried so far, where they're allowed to be a little slack. Only tried spinach once, but it worked, and the ease of just adding however much you needed was super-useful rather than having to buy a whole bag of fresh and deal with it.

 

Okra worked well the one time I've used it so far (one of the few curries I make well is a take on bhindi masala - an absolute favourite).

 

Need to try sweetcorn - not my favourite veg by far, but a little here and there could be useful if it remains even vaguely crisp. Ideally I'd like it to be useable raw after defrosting as a salad ingredient, but can imagine it might be a bit mushy...

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On 04/11/2022 at 13:33, Clipper said:

Stupid question I know but I rarely use frozen stuff other than fish fingers (for the boy), fish fingers,lollies :D  and freezing batch cooking etc.

 

So I know some veg survive freezing better than some. My son loves broccoli and I buy it fresh usually but I don't like it and so it never goes to waste but it certainly gets a little soft/rubbery as time goes on. So I was considering frozen broccoli florets for convenience. When cooked on hob in hot water do they have same consistency and bite and flavour as fresh? I won't bother if they are going to go mushy.

 

ANd opening this out to other frozen veg does it all really work. I see frozen chopped onions and chillies and mashed potato etc. I personally use those fresh or cook them for myself but can see that they might make sense financially frozen (ok not the mashed potato) :D Is there any loss in quality compared to fresh?

 

 

Yesterday I was told that soft carrots can be fixed by leaving them in water overnight as they soften due to dehydration. The same may apply to broccoli.

 

Most veg seems freezable but peas are the the absolute champions. Chillis are definitely fine after freezing - there is zero impact on flavour plus I'm sure that chopping them whilst frozen reduces the transmission of stingy bits to the fingers (and then the eyes).

 

I also recall reading a few years ago that the nutritional value of some vegetable is actually improved by freezing although I can't recall which particular ones. 

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On 04/11/2022 at 13:33, Clipper said:

My son loves broccoli and I buy it fresh usually but I don't like it and so it never goes to waste but it certainly gets a little soft/rubbery as time goes on.

One thing I've recently found is that veg keeps very much better if you're diligent about storing it wrapped as airtight as possible in the fridge. I used to only ever buy as much carrot as I needed, because I didn't think they kept well, and was always having celery go floppy on me. A while ago, I started wrapping the remainder of each in a plastic bag, getting as much air out as possible then sealing it as tightly as I could (usually by spinning the bag around to twist it tightly shut, and then using those little metal twisty things to hold it there. A little bit of a faff, but stuff lasts so much longer. I managed to keep a head of celery crisp for almost a fortnight doing this, when it would have been floppy after maybe 5 days previously. I haven't tried it with broccoli, but I'd imagine it would help a lot (it's worked well with radishes, cucumber, and (to a lesser extent) peppers too).

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This was mentioned in the latest Waitrose Food mag - apparently...

 

Quote

Chef Phil Vickery swears by frozen mashed potato: “I love it, I really do. I know that some time ago it might have been horrible, reconstituted potato powder. But now, it is really amazing.” He recommends stirring in some extra milk or butter at the end. Phil also sings the praises of frozen broad beans (“A miracle; you never get that bitterness that you sometimes get with fresh”), mango, tuna and salmon

 

I've attached the full article here Waitrose Food.pdf

 

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I buy quite a lot of frozen veg. These are my thoughts:

 

Spinach: Good in a curry/stew situation. Not good for other applications.

Mirepoix (celery, carrots, onion): Perfect for things like ragu. No need to chop, no waste, can't tell the difference between fresh and frozen.

Peas: Everyone knows these are great. Good for pea soup.

Sweetcorn: Decent, I usually have this and canned sweetcorn.

Corn on the cob: I use this when making Asian style soups (broth), haven't tried eating it normally.

Carrots: Good in soup, stew etc.

Broad beans: My girlfriend likes these.

Mashed potato: They come in these little 3cm long cylinders. Simply stick it in the microwave. Once you've added some salt, pepper and butter these are pretty much the same as freshly made.

Diced onion: Perfect for stews, curries etc.

Sliced red onions: Ok for stews, curries etc, wouldn't use if you needed more texture.

Mixed Mediterranean veg: Ok if it's going into a stew, curry etc, wouldn't use it if you needed the texture of the individual veg.

Mixed veg steam bags: Super easy to throw in the microwave for a basic side of veg.

Chopped garlic: Super useful. You can pretty much use this like normal garlic. Perfect for stir fries for example. You never waste any garlic.

Chopped ginger: Same as the garlic.

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I think frozen peppers will become a staple for me. They will go a bit mushy, but for soups and chillis etc. they're fine. A few days ago I made a kind of spicy pepper and red lentil pate with them to add to my lunches which was absolutely delicious (they got blitzed up so the texture didn't matter a jot, and they worked brilliantly in my store cupboard minestrone (one of the nicest things I've cooked in a while). Doing the maths - Sainsbury's sell 500 grams for £1.20, which after weighing a decent-sized pepper at work and subtracting a little for the stalk, seeds and ribby bits would seem to be about 3 and a bit peppers worth, which would cost about £1.75 fresh, and they come ready prepped, so save time. I get through quite a lot of peppers, but find they don't keep well, so buying fresh ones to eat in salads or stick on pizza will continue to happen, but a bag of frozen on hand gives loads of options for cookery, especially unplanned cookery.

 

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19 hours ago, Clipper said:

frozen garlic and ginger is a hit as well.  I use KTC jars of minced garlic and ginger but I think I'll use a mix of that and frozen now.

 

I'd recommend avoiding the minced ginger/garlic in a jar on favour grounds, I find it horrible stuff and it tastes weird compared to the raw fresh stuff.

 

Even if you freeze whole garlic cloves and inch or so pieces of ginger they can be microplaned straight from frozen into a dish, and are ready to chop very quickly from frozen if you leave them out.

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19 minutes ago, Gotters said:

 

I'd recommend avoiding the minced ginger/garlic in a jar on favour grounds, I find it horrible stuff and it tastes weird compared to the raw fresh stuff.

 

Even if you freeze whole garlic cloves and inch or so pieces of ginger they can be microplaned straight from frozen into a dish, and are ready to chop very quickly from frozen if you leave them out.

I've used it for a while in curries, as long as you add it in middle of hot pan and sizzle it/cook it out when you add it then it's usually ok for base flavour. Adding it into a sauce wouldn't be a good idea.

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