Tips & Tricks on how to use Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are the most economical, time-saving and practical option for operators. With good preparation and storage practices, the results are similar to cooking with fresh vegetables. These vegetables are ready to be cooked on the spot! They are pre-cut, pre-washed and can help you and your team save tons of time in the kitchen. They can be pre-portioned and stored helping minimize waste. However, they sometimes have bad press! People think their texture is blah or their colour is washed out. Today, we’ll discuss the best way to prepare and cook frozen vegetables to enhance their quality and get the best taste, as well as other things to consider when preparing them.
Frozen vegetables should NEVER be thawed before preparing them. To maximize their flavour and performance, they should be frozen when cooking.
Ideal cooking methods:
- COMBINATION OVEN: cooking vegetables at 240 °F (116 °C) for 3 to 4 minutes is excellent. They can be maintained at a temperature of 140 °F (60 °C) for more than an hour.
- STIR FRY: vegetables should be steamed or boiled for no more than one minute, just enough to thaw before sauté on high heat in a skillet, wok or on a grilling plate with a small amount of oil.
- BOILING: to preserve the colour and flavor of vegetables, cook them quickly in a chicken broth or other meat broth that will be kept for the preparation of soups or sauces (maximum 4 minutes depending on the cut and texture) so they will keep their appearance and firmness. It is not recommended to boil too many vegetables at a time, and is recommended to start over 2 or 3 times so the liquid does not cool or stop boiling.
- Frozen vegetables can also be cooked using steam or baked in an oven to get a more crunchy texture. To do so, spread the frozen vegetables on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and spices of your choice. Bake at 220°C for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the vegetables halfway through.
For optimal results, minimize the thawing time of your frozen vegetables. When cooking, use only what you need and store the rest immediately in the freezer, helping prevent potential quality and performance loss. Also, don’t overcook: frozen vegetables cook quicker than fresh produce, so be careful not to overcook them. Most of them can be ready in as little as 4 minutes at high temperature. It is strongly recommended to follow the cooking instructions on the package and check for doneness frequently.
If you plan to prepare frozen vegetables to serve immediately, fully cook them. If you need to prepare them in advance for an event, do not cook them completely so the colour and flavour are preserved.
NOTE: ALL the Arctic Gardens frozen vegetables are blanched however, they cannot be used “as is” i.e. directly from freezer to plate. They have to be cooked thoroughly before usage.
Other things to consider:
- Available year-round; frozen vegetables are available throughout the year, regardless of the season. This allows you to offer a wide variety of vegetables and to have a steady supply on hand all the time.
- They are processed or quick-frozen immediately after harvest; which locks in the goodness, freshness, flavor, colour, and nutritional value;
- Unlike fresh “out of season“ vegetables which deteriorate in nutritional value after being hastily picked, they retain their optimal, consistent nutritional value capable of being transported and stored for long periods of time;
- Extended shelf life; frozen vegetables have an extended shelf life compared to fresh vegetables, which can reduce waste costs and save money;
- No waste; two pounds of flash-frozen vegetables equals two pounds of vegetables on the plate. Compare this to fresh vegetables, which have a much lower net weight once they’ve been trimmed, cleaned, and/or peeled.
Here are some delicious and trendy recipes perfect for the summer season you can try:
Green beans, fennel and citrus salad
Japanese-style Salad with Udon Noodles, beans and Sesame dressing
Grilled Chicken Kalenbanzo Salad
We encourage you to discover (or re-discover!) Arctic Gardens product portfolio which offers a wide variety of options; from the reliable, foundational products to a fine selection of on-trend and specialty ingredients, you can find what you are looking for.