Oh, haven’t you heard? It’s all about the freezer these days. Your fridge’s squat cousin packs a more powerful punch than it lets on. Yeah, yeah, we know that it can make ice cubes and keep ice cream, but the ice box is so, so much more than that. Actually, it often gets a bad rap—an Arctic wasteland where food goes to be forgotten. But perhaps, a cognitive shift is in order. The freezer shouldn’t be a last resort but a resource, a place you turn for inspiration, ingredients, advice (sure, why not?).
Freezer friendly vegetables get the cold shoulder. They’re shriveled and dusted with ice and don’t hold a flame to their bountiful Farmers' Market counterparts as far as looks go. But in one realm, they do reign supreme: durability. They’re easily accessible and deserve recognition. Plus, studies show that vegetables are just as nutritious frozen as they fresh. So here’s a guide for all you who have a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer and just don’t know what to do with it. And for the rest of you, maybe it’s time you jump on that train.
These little green morsels freeze terrifically. So well, in fact, that they're kinda like the poster child of frozen vegetables. Scoop out however many you want into a sieve and run under cold water before using. These will save ANY boring stir fry.
Corn is only available for such a brief, bright, and beautiful window. During summer, I advise you to get your hand on as many ears as possible. The rest of the year, however, we're not as lucky. Unless, of course, you keep a bag of frozen kernels in your fridge. Pop those puppies out and fold them into a variety of veggie laden dishes all year long.
When it comes to frozen vegetables, spinach reigns supreme, so supreme that some recipes actually call for frozen over fresh. I keep a bag in my fridge at all times for scooping into smoothies or curries or rice or pasta or into casseroles or as a side or under fish... you get the idea.
Frozen carrots, admittedly, aren't as versatile as their other frozen friends. Opt for frozen carrots when pureeing or braising or mixing—dishes where carrots aren't the star and you don't need to preserve their beautiful shape.
How do you freeze? Tell us your techniques in the comments section.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now