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Frozen veggies for Mirepoix?

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phan1 Feb 24, 2008 01:21 AM

Well, it's a popular base for many dishes, but I absolutely dread having to cut up all those darn veggies for it, especially if I'm planning on making sauces with them, in which case they have to be but pretty fine, and it's mostly the carrots that give me problems. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with frozen veggies for mirepoix? Good idea? Frozen veggies are of comparable quality to fresh?

  1. mrjohnnyzone Feb 24, 2008 01:24 AM

    I would say get a good knife and you will fly through those veggies. When I have to do mirepoix at work I get excited because having the right tools and beautiful product really make it enjoyable for me. Plus frozen is not the way to go w/ carrots onions and celery.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrjohnnyzone
      m
      morwen Feb 24, 2008 03:59 AM

      I agree. It takes only minutes to dice up the veggies, even large batches and the taste is MUCH better. Plus it's better for your budget. But, depending where you live and if budget isn't a concern I know that the Wegmans stores carry bagged precut "fresh" mirepoix under their own name in the produce section.

    2. scubadoo97 Feb 24, 2008 05:12 AM

      Cutting the vegetables is my favorite part. I get to play with my knives.

      1. thew Feb 24, 2008 05:27 AM

        i agree its better to chop your own, but if you hate it, dont do it. cooking should be enjoyable.frozen veggies are not as good, but they will work for mirepoix.
        but really learn to love your knives. do you have good ones? that often makes the difference between enjoying and hating the prep work

        2 Replies
        1. re: thew
          AManHastoEat Feb 24, 2008 08:26 AM

          I'm with Thew on this one. I was cooking at a friends house and I don't think her knives had been honed or sharpened since her wedding. I took home two of them and ran through the sharpener. She couldn't believe how sharp they came out and joked that I just bought her new ones.

          1. re: thew
            paulj Feb 24, 2008 11:15 AM

            Freezing vegetables affects texture more than taste, at least for most vegetables. Since mirepoix is intended to contribute flavor, and cook down to almost nothing (at least in long braises), freezing shouldn't be a problem.

            One option is to cut large batch of mirepoix, and freeze it in portions. This would save you time later on, and make use of vegetables that would otherwise spoil before you use them. Celery, for example, is relatively cheap, but takes up quite a bit of space in the vegetable bin. These could also come in handy when you discover all your onions have sprouted.

            Can you buy frozen mirepoix? I haven't looked at the frozen food section of a regular grocery in some time. I have seen the frigerated containers at TJ, but haven't tried them. I've seen frozen chopped onion. Are carrots and celery available in frozen, loose, diced form?

            So may come down to when do you have time for shopping and chopping, and how much space you have in the fridge v. freezer.

            paulj

          2. JoanN Feb 24, 2008 05:41 AM

            A few years ago, Mark Bittman wrote an article in the NYTimes praising many frozen vegetables over their fresh counterparts. It's an interesting read. Here's a link:

            http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

            But toward the end of the article he notes that good as many frozen vegetables can be, two that are better fresh are onions and carrots--two thirds of your trilogy. And I don't think I've ever even seen frozen celery.

            But so what? If you really hate cutting up veggies give it a try and see how you like it. If it doesn't make a signicant enough difference to you, go for it.

            1. Shane Greenwood Feb 24, 2008 06:41 AM

              You might also invest in a food processor. I use the small cuisinart one. I make mirepoix a few times a week and it takes about 2 minutes each time.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Shane Greenwood
                m
                Mel.D Feb 24, 2008 07:35 AM

                Trader Joe's make the best mirepoix. I bought some a few weeks ago and used it all up. It's basically a container of diced carrots, onions and celery. Easy!

                1. re: Shane Greenwood
                  c oliver Jan 16, 2011 06:05 PM

                  When I make Hazan's Bolognese I make a 4 or 5X recipe. The carrots esp. kill my weak hands. A CH suggested the FP and I've been using it. Very carefully. Not a puree. Just chopped. But for smaller amounts, I agree with getting better knife skills.

                2. m
                  marys1000 Jan 16, 2011 05:00 AM

                  I found this thread on a google search with essentially the same question.
                  As a single person I just can't use enough mirepoix without the celery going bad, sometimes the carrots. I would love to buy frozen but have never seen it and I was wondering - is it because celery does not freeze well? I
                  have thought of making my own when I buy a bunch of celery though I believe that commercial freezing processes probably produce a better product because they can flash freeze.
                  Still I'll do it if I can figure out whether celery freezes even moderately well enough for cooking.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: marys1000
                    m
                    magiesmom Jan 16, 2011 05:07 AM

                    When I am out of celery I sub small dice of celeriac, which keeps forever.

                    1. re: marys1000
                      m
                      MARISKANY Jan 16, 2011 05:25 AM

                      If you wrap the celery in aluminum foil it will last indefinitely in your crisper.

                    2. a
                      AdamD Jan 16, 2011 05:21 AM

                      I am going to say no to the frozen veggies, especially i f the package says "fully cooked."
                      But I like the idea of making a large batch of your own and then freezing it. I think the onions and the carrots would hold up well, but Im not so sure about the celery-given its high water content, you might lose something there. And if ice crystals develop in the veggies, your mixture will add significant water to your dish-not a good thing.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: AdamD
                        sunshine842 Jan 16, 2011 05:37 AM

                        *only* if the package says "fully cooked"

                        Industrial producers "flash-freeze" vegetables with liquid nitrogen, which means that the veg are frozen very quickly, which eliminates the mushiness often associated with freezing vegetables at home.

                        There are no issues at all with frozen fresh (not cooked) vegetables -- the industrial freezing process is actually considerably better for preserving the quality of fresh veggies than is home freezing...the home freezing proces is much slower, allowing the cell membranes to burst as the water inside them freezes.

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          a
                          AdamD Jan 16, 2011 05:43 AM

                          Interesting. Never really paid much attention to frozen veg. The only frozen veg in our house are peas and corn. Should I be looking for a brand that does not say fully cooked? Hmmmm.......

                      2. s
                        sancan Jan 16, 2011 07:20 AM

                        I chop them fresh usually, but I also chop celery and onions for the freezer when I buy them in bulk, or they will go bad. I don't like storing things in plasticso I wrap them in waxed paper before putting them in the plastic bags. You will have to master a different technique for sauteeing frozen veggies, because they will give up their water before they begin to cook in the oil. Turn the heat to high to accomplish this, and don't put more than a thin layer of veg in the pan. You may have to do all three items separately. Wait for the exuded water to evaporate, then saute as usual. I think onions and celery are comparable when properly cooked, but try it and see if it meets your standards. I don't usually use carrots, being low carb, but I do use frozen bell pepper. It does fine, too.

                        When I use frozen veg, I get out the container that I will use to refrigerate ultimate leftovers of the dish (I always try to make enough for leftovers) and transfer the first sauteed veg to it, then the next. Then, when they're all done, I toss them all back in, stash the dish in the frig, and continue cooking. Nothing beats having frozen onions, peppers and celery when you need then. Not perfection, but darn good. Probably the definition of a home cook - darn good, not chef quality, but far better than any prepared food.

                        I remember Sara Moulton saying to a caller that if her dislike of chopping garlic was keeping her from cooking, that it was okay for her to use pre-chopped, jarred garlic. Admired Sara for that.

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