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Apr 29, 2009 05:50 PM

Freezer-burnt vegetable emergency fix

Yesterday, I had one of those unpleasant discoveries: Several bags of frozen vegetables that had fallen behind something else in the freezer compartment and completely slipped my mind. As I recall, I bought them going on five months ago.

It's simply not in my constitution to throw out food that might be remotely edible. I've never had any luck with steaming freezer-burnt vegetables before (and yes, I let them get that way all too often, because I buy them as backup, and nearly always end up buying fresh).

This time, I decided to try my luck with a pureed soup. One freezer-burnt bag each:

Broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix
Brussels sprouts
Sweet peas (these weren't too far gone)

Added two chopped onions, about half a head of garlic and some dried sage. Dumped in six cups of store-bought chicken stock. (You sometimes use it too -- admit it!) Simmered till things were nicely cooked and starting to soften up, then pureed very well.

My gamble paid off with a huge pot of extremely good soup, especially served with a few drops of white balsamic vinegar to brighten the flavors a bit.

If not for the dull green color, I'd have no problem whatsoever passing this through a sieve to refine the texture and serving it to company.

Anyone else have success with any other techniques of pulling freezer burn out of the fire? I was blown away that this worked. I chalk it up to the onions and garlic, mostly, but I suspect the simmering did something too.

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  1. The soup sounds delish. I have also found myself in this situation and if the veggies are not too far gone, I will do a quick saute using garlic infused olive oil, chopped shallots or onions and any other spices I have lying around that I think will complement. It usually turns out well as the quick stir fry disguises any less than stellar parts of the veggies.

    1. i've found that certain savory, umami ingredients such as tamari and nutritional yeast can really help.

      and re: the "dull green color" of your soup, you could always deepen it by blending in some blanched fresh herbs before straining.

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Great idea, ghg -- or spinach! That's always how I've upped the "greenness" of not-quite-fresh-looking soups in the past. And re: umami, cheddar is sort of a natural for a soup of this kind. Umami galore!

        I think any soup application is superior to just about anything else for saving freezer burned veg. A veg curry works beautifully too -- same principles at work, obviously. You're fixing the "dry" part of freezer burn by simmering and disguising the "funny-tasting" part of freezer burn with stronger flavors.

        1. re: LauraGrace

          "And re: umami, cheddar is sort of a natural for a soup of this kind. Umami galore!"
          or Parm!

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            What great ideas. Tomorrow, it gets cheese!

      2. Fold it into a frittata.

        1. I used your advice to season things up. Worschesire (sp) sauce seems to help out, too.