Freezing Temperatures, Frozen Vegetables

Authored by Reeve Chace

Family DinnerNow that we are officially in the depths of winter, fresh vegetables are harder to find than they were in the summer growing season. But that’s no reason to leave the produce off your plate this winter–plenty of nutritious vegetables can still be found in abundance in the freezer section of your local grocery store.

A recent Time magazine article by Dr. Mehmet Oz was a reminder that just because we are currently in a cultural moment that celebrates local, fresh and organic everything, we shouldn’t turn our noses up at frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are often picked at the peak of freshness then frozen immediately, locking in vital nutrients. Sometimes, their nutritional value is even greater than veggies picked early in the season and left to ripen on supermarket shelves. And, frozen produce is often more affordable than its fresh counterparts.

The trick to making frozen vegetables taste good, say food experts, is to be careful not to overcook them. Steaming is one way to keep them from turning dark and soggy, as is sauteeing in olive oil. You can even roast frozen veggies in the oven, then sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top in the last few minutes of cooking.

One last tip, from a lazy cook: I frequently serve my children–ages 2 and 4–frozen peas, right out of the bag. They make a nice side to chicken or pasta (or anything, really), and the girls eat them with their fingers, one by one, like candy. Peas really do have a sweetness to them, especially the petite ones, and I like that my girls are learning to recognize that now, while their tastes are still forming.

What about you? What are your tips, tricks or recipes for getting more vegetables into your winter diet? Let us know in the comments section below!