If you usually rely on frozen and canned foods, you might be wondering which are the best frozen vegetables (and are they really as good as fresh)?
Will they be mushy and waterlogged or will they taste the same as when harvested from the field?
Unlike fresh produce, which is often harvested before reaching their peak flavor and then shipped long distances before they even reach your local supermarket, frozen vegetables tend to be harvested and usually stored at the top of their game.
If you want to store your freezer intelligently, frozen vegetables are often as healthy – and sometimes healthier – than fresh vegetables and can cost a lot less.
There really isn’t any difference in quality between store brands or big name brands, but keep an eye on the front of packages for different cuts or preparations of vegetables.
For example, broccoli florets are just the top portion of the broccoli, while broccoli “cuts” include the stems. (It’s a matter of preference and texture.)
Here are some easy-to-find options for packing your freezer with ready-to-use nutrients.
Cauliflower has a ton of uses, but when buying it frozen, be sure to drain the florets to prevent them from going soggy. This will ensure perfectly creamy (not watery) mashed cauliflower every time.
(You’ll want to only use fresh cauliflower for things like buffalo wings and roasted cauliflower. Frozen won’t hold up.)
Note that cauliflower rice often retains its texture and shape even better than florets.
Whether you’re looking to add more veggies to any meal or want a low carb rice swap, look for frozen cauli rice in your supermarket.
A staple of classic frozen vegetable mixes, corn is one of those vegetables that’s actually better for you frozen than fresh.
Thaw and drain your corn, then toss it into salads and soups and salsas for extra sweetness and crunch.
3. Butternut squash
Storing butternut squash spirals (or other pre-made vegetable noodles) in your freezer is like having a box of pasta in your pantry. They are perfect for quick and healthy meals.
The key with veggie noodles (and frozen veggies in general) is to choose types that don’t have any added butter, cheese, or sauce.
Butternut squash puree is another frozen staple to keep on hand for soups, side dishes, and even oatmeal.
Many leafy green salads are not freezer safe. (Yuck, frozen lettuce!) But spinach, kale, and other hearty dark greens like cabbage freeze well.
Use them in omelets, smoothies and other dishes. (Frozen spinach can actually preserve higher levels of folate that fresh too.)
Be sure to drain your frozen spinach well, really well after thawing. Place it in a clean dish towel and test your grip strength by wringing it out completely.
Broccoli is a tasty low carb vegetable that is also a good vegetable for weight loss. It contains many important minerals and vitamins, as well as fiber.
Broccoli freezes well and retains its nutrients.
Thaw and drain your broccoli, then roast until crisp with plenty of lemon zest and black pepper. Or keep it simple and steam or microwave until tender-crisp.
6. Green peas
Frozen green peas are the perfect shortcut for cooking because they’re just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts and don’t take long to stir into soups, sauces, or even salads.
It’s an easy way to squeeze in more veggies and provide 9 grams of protein per cup.
Pair frozen peas with cauliflower rice and baked chicken breast, plus the sauce of your choice, for a healthy and easy dinner (pun intended) in no time.
7. Green beans
With only about two calories per grain (or 31 calories per cup), green beans are a tasty, low-calorie side dish loaded with fiber.
They are delicious when steamed and served plain or when roasted until crispy.
Keep a bag handy for those nights when you want a little more green on your plate for very little effort.
Mushrooms offer dietary fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, but are low in calories. However, frozen mushrooms are a little slimy straight out of the bag.
Enhance their flavor and texture by sautéing them in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until most of the moisture evaporates.
Then add the rest of your ingredients once your mushrooms have started to brown.
They’ll add tons of rich flavor and umami to omelets, soups, tacos and more for relatively few calories.