March is National Frozen Food Month, so I thought it appropriate to bring to light the benefits of frozen fruit and vegetables. Now, I know some of you are probably wrinkling your noses and protesting because you will only use fresh produce. However, I’m here to tell you that frozen fruit and veggies are not only convenient, they are also a nutritionally sound alternative to fresh and they taste great–especially when prepared correctly!
To start, you have to get away from the old fashioned way of dumping a block of frozen veggies into a pot and heating them on the stove and serving them like that. If it sounds boring, it’s because it is boring and it’s going to taste boring too. I like to use frozen fruit and veggies in specific recipes where they are best suited. Think things like casseroles, soups and stews. Frozen veggies hold up better than fresh–they tend to keep their form a bit better and they work best for these kind of dishes. In other words, they won’t turn to mush!
Let’s talk about frozen fruit. Berries are super popular, but unfortunately they are only in season for a short period of time. This is where frozen fruit comes in handy, especially when making treats like smoothies and shakes. It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re making them, your favorite berry is always available in your grocer’s freezer section and it’s just as delicious as adding fresh.
I mentioned earlier how you prepare frozen veggies is very important. Here is a simple, quick and delicious idea that incorporates fresh and frozen vegetables. Let’s say you only have a small portion of fresh green beans on hand–not enough to make a full side dish for your family. What you can do is add some mixed frozen veggies to the green beans and create a delicious side. Boost the flavor with some herbs like dill or perhaps a little sauteed shallots in olive oil.
A few other quick favorite ways I like to use frozen veggies are adding peas to my salads or chopped spinach to quiches or soups. Another simple way to use frozen fruit is adding it to oatmeal or your favorite hot breakfast cereal. During the winter months, in particular, when fresh produce is hard to find in season, give frozen produce a try. Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a terrific section that feature some tasty recipes, which highlight frozen fruit and vegetables as their ingredients. This is a great way to get you started!