A great many Australians love their frozen veggies: 80% like the convenience, 36% also like the quality of their chosen brand and just over half of us buy them to reduce the amount of food waste they produce.
But despite the satisfaction of frozen veg fans, there are quite a few misconceptions about frozen vegetables that might deter people from buying them. Really, there isn’t anything wrong with frozen veggies, so let’s clear a few things up.
“Frozen vegetables have less nutritional value”
In fact, vegetables destined for the freezer are picked at their peak ripeness and are flash frozen on the same day. This flash freezing deactivates the enzymes that break down the food, thus sealing in all of the good stuff when the food has its peak nutritional value.
The freezing process also includes a technique called blanching, which uses hot water or steam to kill any bacteria, so the veggies really are good for you.
Other preservation methods such as canning or juicing also help the vegetables hold a great deal of nutritional value.
“Microwaving them reduces their goodness”
– Again, FALSE!
Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t actually zapping your food with radiation. A microwave works by exciting water molecules within the food to heat it up. The excited water molecules quickly rotate, with the kinetic energy heating up the food.
In fact, the short cooking time and lack of excess water, combined with the fact that the vegetables aren’t being boiled, actually leaves the food with most of its original nutritional value. Science has proved that cooking vegetables (particularly frozen veg) in the microwave is the best way to do it.
“Those vegetables are old”
– Not necessarily true.
Even frozen vegetables have a shelf life. Because they have been frozen, they can stay fresh for up to one year before they start to lose their quality. That is the amazing power of freezing – it keeps food good for ages.
While your frozen veggies may not have been picked yesterday, they are still in the same condition (and hold the same nutritional value) as when they were frozen, so there really isn’t anything to worry about.
If you are concerned however, frozen vegetables are marked with use by dates just like any other packaged product. That way you can know how long they can stay in the freezer.
“They are more expensive”
– Once more, NOT TRUE!
Buying frozen vegetables is often cheaper than buying fresh veggies. Mainly this has to do with buying in bulk. But quite frankly, vegetables are incredibly affordable whether they are fresh or frozen, so price is no excuse for not eating enough.
They are far cheaper than ready-meals, potato chips, processed foods, or any kind of takeaway. Fresh and frozen vegetables are better for your health and your budget.
“They always turn out soggy and bland”
Soggy vegetables are the fault of the cook, who has cooked them for too long, or done so the wrong way.
Because frozen vegetables are pre-chopped into smaller pieces than we would normally cut fresh vegetables, they don’t take long to cook at all. To have hot and crunchy veg, simply shave a bit of time off the pack instructions if you’re microwaving, or use a steamer if you have one – they always turn out better if they’re not cooked in plastic.
Also, if they are going into any dish like pasta, stir fry, or casserole, it’s not necessary to cook them beforehand, as they are cooked with the rest of the dish. Seasoning the vegetables is also important – you season fresh vegetables in a lot of dishes, so there is no reason to skip this step with frozen ones. A simple salt, pepper, and butter mix is all it takes. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a mix of chili flakes, honey and lemon juice with your frozen veg.
So there we have it, all of the important, need-to-know facts about frozen vegetables. Happy cooking!