They’re not what they used to be
I cannot be trusted with fresh vegetables. I have good intentions at the grocery store. I fill my cart with baby squash, a rainbow of sweet peppers, delicate asparagus spears, and Brussels sprouts still attached to the stalk. All the while, fantasizing about the delicious gourmet meals I will prepare immediately upon returning home. And I will tell you, six weeks later when I am transferring the moldy, wilty, decaying evidence of my un-domestic-goddess-ness from the veggie bin to the trash can, I still tell myself, “next time, next time…” I am finally, at least partially, at peace with this particular defect. On top of all those fresh vegetables-the ones my mother would be so proud of me for buying-are bags and bags of frozen ones.
Often, when someone mentions frozen vegetables the image that comes to mind is that old standby mixture of corn, green beans, and carrots. It was grayish and mushy and sometimes had some really offensive Lima beans or peas in it. These days, however, the freezer aisle is an international gateway: from stir-fry mixes with baby corn and snow peas to bundles of delicate haricot verts. With today’s flash-freezing methods the textures, flavors, and nutritional content of these vegetables are comparable to or better than their fresh counterparts. They are much more convenient too, with very little or more often no prep work required. In addition, since most frozen vegetables have already been blanched they take hardly any time to cook. You are basically just thawing and warming them. Actually, you want to cook them as minimally as possible to keep the bright colors and firm texture. So peruse the freezer aisle the next time you’re at the grocery store. Grab some edamame or organic summer squash and don’t worry about it going bad before you have a chance to use it.