Do You Need To Cook Frozen Vegetables?

Want to make a quick stir-fry? Frozen vegetables have your back. Just realized you have no veg for your kids' dinner? Time to pull that steam-bag out of the freezer. Want to add some corn to your tacos? Frozen corn to the rescue! But it looks like there is yet another reason to add frozen vegetables to the MVP list: they don't even need to be cooked!

You read that right. No, frozen vegetables are not cooked before they're frozen, unlike some shrimp. But even so, you may not need to cook them.

Cooking Light and Delishably both extol the many benefits of frozen vegetables and note several ways of using them without cooking. As registered dietician Toby Amidor told Cooking Light, "You can defrost them and then toss on a salad—though you will need to make sure they're fully defrosted and slightly at room temperature to do so."  

Since many frozen vegetables are already cut up into small pieces, some can even be defrosted under warm running water, like frozen corn (which is an especially good trick if you're making something like Cowboy (Texas) Caviar.

Uncooked and still-frozen vegetables are perfectly edible

Even better for time-crunched cooks are the ways you can use frozen vegetables while they are still frozen. Leafy greens in particular are an ideal way of boosting the nutritional value of your smoothie without getting overwhelmed by the taste (as noted by EatingWell) and the watery quality of frozen vegetables like spinach is actually useful for foods you plan to imbibe rather than gnaw on. But there are more uses of frozen veg in smoothies than you might realize. Any vegetable with a high water content works well in a smoothie, and the popularity of cauliflower rice has led to its integration in more smoothie recipes, too (which is just one of the many secret ways cauliflower can be put to use). 

Why cauliflower? It doesn't offer the same nutritional boost as kale, so what's the benefit? According to Danielle Brown of HealthyGirl Kitchen, it makes your smoothie that much creamier and more satisfying. The flavor of frozen cauliflower is subtle enough that you don't notice it, but the texture takes your smoothie to another level.

Just another reason to add an extra icy bag to your shopping cart. Better yet, freeze your own vegetables, if you can avoid the common pitfalls!