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Frozen supermarket fruits & veggies better than fresh supermarket?

cstout Mar 15, 2014 07:42 AM

I am all for purchasing frozen items instead of those much handled droopy things sitting in the produce section. Thinking about it though, the frozen things have some disadvantages.

Stir fries are great fast foods, but here we go with the thawed out soggy veggies that just don't work. Can anyone suggest how to overcome this?

Some fruits get pretty soggy after thawing & don't look too good in pies or other desserts. I don't know how to fix this situation either.

I am really trying to make the frozen veggies work, but there definitely are some drawbacks. Could you folks post some hints to as to how you handle frozen fruits & veggies? Thanks.

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  1. m
    magiesmom RE: cstout Mar 15, 2014 07:45 AM

    I don't thaw frozen veggies for stir fry.

    4 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom
      cstout RE: magiesmom Mar 16, 2014 07:43 AM

      Do you just throw the frozen veggies in a screaming hot pan?

      They won't wilt & get mushy?

      1. re: cstout
        magiesmom RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 03:18 PM

        They don't if they stay very briefly.
        Fresh are better though.

        1. re: cstout
          KarenDW RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 08:00 PM

          yes. Sometimes I rinse off the ice crystals. Keep in mind that the veggies were blanched before freezing, and that freezing breaks down the cell walls. So quick cooking works the best.
          IMO, frozen veggies are better than no veggies, and offer some options for variety.

          1. re: cstout
            sunshine842 RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 07:41 AM

            I buy frozen stir-fry veggies at either Costco (preferred) or Sam's Club (not as good, but closer..)

            We like both (but prefer the Costco mix) and find that if tossed in a really hot pan, will stay brightly colored and crisp-tender without rinsing or defrosting.

            That said-- those are the only frozen veg I buy regularly -- we just don't like the texture of frozen veggies otherwise (and even those are on hand for stirfries on nights I'm out of time/energy/givadamn.)

            I'll occasionally buy frozen spinach for lasagna or similar recipes, but that's about it.

        2. h
          Harters RE: cstout Mar 15, 2014 08:08 AM

          I always have frozen peas and broad beans. Not only because fresh are only available for a short period but, also, I reckon they taste better. Always have to remember they need much shorter cooking time thna fresh.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters
            cstout RE: Harters Mar 16, 2014 07:59 AM

            Shorter cooking time for frozen veggies - good point.

          2. MamasCooking RE: cstout Mar 15, 2014 12:55 PM

            Buy the best brand that you can afford. It makes a difference. I keep frozen brussel sprouts, corn niblets, pearl onions, French cut green beans, peas and mixed vegetables in the freezer. I live on fresh produce and fruit but I do not always have the time to clean and prep the fresh stuff. I do not buy frozen fruit but in the past I bought it on a regular basis. None of it resembled fresh fruit to me:)

            10 Replies
            1. re: MamasCooking
              magiesmom RE: MamasCooking Mar 15, 2014 01:15 PM

              Frozen blackberries are quite good, as are mangoes. Not like fresh, but worth having around.

              1. re: magiesmom
                MamasCooking RE: magiesmom Mar 15, 2014 01:24 PM

                True on the mango. I have posted on several threads about being a life long wild blackberry forager all over N. California so consuming frozen or commercially produced blackberries is not something I do.

                1. re: MamasCooking
                  magiesmom RE: MamasCooking Mar 15, 2014 03:58 PM

                  My guess is that someone with a mango tree in their yard would feel the same about frozen mangoes.
                  We actually have lots of blackberries locally, when they are gone I like the frozen ones fine. And since they are so low in sugar they make a great winter crisp.

                  1. re: magiesmom
                    cheesecake17 RE: magiesmom Mar 17, 2014 12:33 PM

                    I enjoy the frozen mangos. Good for a smoothie or homemade Popsicles

              2. re: MamasCooking
                cstout RE: MamasCooking Mar 16, 2014 08:03 AM

                I have always purchased the generic brand of veggies - will certainly look into trying a few name brands.

                I just bought a pint of strawberries & put them in the freezer, but when I let them thaw out in the fridge, they lost their firmness & were sort of waterlogged. Was very disappointed about that.

                1. re: cstout
                  magiesmom RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 03:20 PM

                  Don't thaw them. Eat them mostly frozen or in smoothies

                  1. re: magiesmom
                    cstout RE: magiesmom Mar 16, 2014 06:33 PM

                    I just remembered an article that stated that we cannot flash freeze our produce as fast & good as the commercial growers - our freezers don't go that low on temps. Oh well, in the mean time, I will certainly eat my fruit half frozen or blended. No more bloated strawberries around here!

                  2. re: cstout
                    cheesecake17 RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 12:33 PM

                    I find frozen strawberries are best when hulled, sliced and frozen. I then use them in oatmeal or smoothies

                    1. re: cheesecake17
                      cstout RE: cheesecake17 Mar 19, 2014 07:39 AM

                      I will slice the strawberries before freezing - thanks.

                      1. re: cstout
                        sunshine842 RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 07:42 AM

                        you might also have luck by hulling and washing the berries, then putting them onto a cookie sheet to freeze. When frozen solid, throw them in a plastic bag in the freezer.

                        Texture tends to be "not too bad". You're still not going to convince anyone that they're fresh, but they're usually not mushy.

                2. Ttrockwood RE: cstout Mar 15, 2014 07:46 PM

                  I use frozen mango for smoothies, and not long ago made a great raspberry "jam" just blending together thawed raspberries with their liquid and chia seeds.
                  I think frozen fruit is best for a sorbet or sauce when its blended since the texture will always be mush.

                  I can't imagine frozen veggies working for a stir fry since they give off so much liquid.....what about using fresh cabbage thinly sliced in a stir fry? Even markets will crummy produce will have cabbage.

                  24 Replies
                  1. re: Ttrockwood
                    cstout RE: Ttrockwood Mar 16, 2014 08:20 AM

                    I am just trying to adapt to a whole new way of cooking - have always preferred fresh but now have to take chemo & cannot function for days afterward, much less make it to the store or market, so must stock up when the "bad' days roll around.

                    Hate to admit it, but even the wilted "fresh" stuff was sometimes better than the frozen, but you all are giving me some good ideas to get by.

                    Yes, fresh cabbage is a life saver for that "fresh" taste, can last a long time before going stale.

                    Thanks to each of you for your tips - have learned a lot already!

                    1. re: cstout
                      masha RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 08:38 AM

                      Cstout, sorry to hear about the chemo. That certainly helps us understand why you are focused on using frozen veggies. Hope that you are on the mend. I'm sure your efforts at healthy eating will help

                      1. re: masha
                        cstout RE: masha Mar 16, 2014 06:30 PM

                        Thanks for the encouraging words, wonderful chowhounds like you all always come to the rescue & give good advice on just about anything. My favorite "go to" place for all things related to food. My deepest gratitude to each of you.

                      2. re: cstout
                        Ttrockwood RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 08:37 PM

                        I'm so sorry to hear you are going through that, i can't imagine.

                        Another thought for stir fry would be canned drained sliced water chestnuts and/or those canned baby corn (rinsed) if you like those.

                        1. re: Ttrockwood
                          cstout RE: Ttrockwood Mar 17, 2014 07:19 AM

                          Stir fries with water chestnuts & canned baby corn would be great in a stir fry. The canned corn is good in a salad too.l

                        2. re: cstout
                          miss louella RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 11:23 PM

                          I know almost nothing about cooking using frozen veggies but have done a lot of cooking for post- (and during) chemo treatments. Maybe consider some make-aheads for the bad days? If that appeals to you, I'll be happy to chime in on a new thread.

                          As far as the frozen veggies go, I've had the most success cooking fast from frozen--no defrosting. (Well, except for frozen chopped spinach which I love to thaw and drain and use in lasagne.)

                          Wishing you well.

                          1. re: miss louella
                            cstout RE: miss louella Mar 19, 2014 08:12 AM

                            miss louella, thanks for the kind words.

                            I would love to have some of your make-ahead dishes.

                            The dairy queen just posted the following thread specific to cooking for people taking chemo. Perhaps you could post your wisdom & recipes there. I will definitely be looking for you on that site.


                          2. re: cstout
                            Madrid RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 03:05 PM

                            Oh, sympathies on the chemo! Can you tolerate soups and stews, pureed, maybe?
                            As others have said, frozen can retain many nutrients.
                            I cook from scratch, but when I'm making a soup or a stew in winter, always add a bag of TJ's frozen menage a trios peppers and a bag of frozen peas. Sometimes I puree before adding, sometimes afterwards. Frozen winter squash and greens can also work, packing in the nutrients. I love winter squash, but it's hard to cook and peel....

                            For fresh, if you can eat it, shredded cabbage and carrots and radishes and celery can give crunch, as you know.

                            1. re: Madrid
                              cstout RE: Madrid Mar 19, 2014 09:11 AM

                              Madrid, thanks for all the wonderful tips.

                              I have a process after chemo that starts out with anything simple & frozen to help soothe the fierce flame feeling in my throat & stomach, along with nausea of just thinking of food.

                              Then comes pureed anything I can think of. A couple of days later I can eat solids, mostly soups & stews.

                              The following days are the happiest days when I can eat fresh veggies & fruits & can swallow without pain. By then, I am craving the crunchy mouth feel & I love to eat anything raw.

                              Unfortunately, the days go by so fast & it time for another treatment. Back the square one.

                              1. re: cstout
                                The Dairy Queen RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 09:24 AM

                                I have never forgotten this lovely steamed egg dish from Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese and wonder if it's something that might be appealing to you at one point or another. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4946...

                                Here's another version: http://www.npr.org/2012/01/22/1454683...

                                If you'd like me to summarize the Dunlop recipe for you, I'd be happy to do so.


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                  cstout RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 19, 2014 06:31 PM

                                  Your pictures of the steamed egg dish looked so soothing & wonderful - of course I would love to have a summarized version of the recipe.

                                  Since you mentioned eggs, I also thought about egg drop(flower) soup, but have never made it & don't know if it can be made ahead & then warmed up a couple days later.

                                  Thanks so much for sharing.

                                  1. re: cstout
                                    The Dairy Queen RE: cstout Mar 20, 2014 01:34 AM

                                    I've never tried to make egg drop soup ahead of time, but isn't it delicious? Thekitchn says it's a soup that doesn't keep well, alas. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-... I found some bloggers who claim it can be reheated gently on the stove top, but I don't know how reliable their opinions are.

                                    What if you made the broth ahead of time, portioned it out, and froze it (in a ziplock baggie, flat, for faster thawing)? And then, when you were ready to eat it, just thaw, reheat and proceed with adding the egg, etc?

                                    Anyway, onto the Dunlop paraphrase:

                                    STEAMED EGGS (paraphrase from Revolutionary Chinese)

                                    She says it's important to steam the eggs gently (over medium heat) so as not to overcook them.

                                    1 1/4 c everyday stock
                                    4 extra large eggs (7 oz total--I don't know if this means 7 oz with or without the shell!)
                                    salt to taste
                                    1 tsp vegetable oil (or lard, melted)
                                    1 tsp sesame oil
                                    2 scallions, green parts only
                                    Soy sauce (to taste)

                                    1. Beat the eggs, set aside.
                                    2. Slice scallion greens thinly, set aside. Reserve scallion whites for another use.
                                    3. Boil 2/3rds of the stock, then pour in remaining 1/3 stock, after which point the stock should be hot but not boiling.
                                    4. Add stock to the beaten eggs.
                                    5. Salt.
                                    6. Stir in vegetable oil (or melted lard).
                                    7. Add water to steamer.
                                    8. Drain egg and stock mixture into a shallow heatproof bowl and put bowl into a metal steamer with the lid cracked slightly open (which is what I did) or in a bamboo steamer (which is what she recommends because some heat will escape naturally).
                                    9. Over medium heat, bring water in steamer to a boil, then steam about 10 minutes until the custard is just set.
                                    10. Remove from steamer.
                                    11. Garnish with sesame oil, sliced scallion greens, and soy sauce.

                                    Here's the recipe for everyday stock from Dunlop's other book Land of Plenty http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid... Also, reports from other 'hounds on making the stock: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4946...). Dunlop has a friend who makes the steamed eggs with a stock of fermented black beans.

                                    I just used doctored up chicken stock.I think I mentioned how in my COTM post, but just by simmer the stock with some ginger and scallions for a short while.

                                    Here's a paraphrase of Qing Quig's Vegetarian Black Bean stock recipe from the same book, RC:

                                    Add 1 quart of water and black fermented beans to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer 20 mins. Strain if desired (for the steamed eggs I think I'd probably strain it for aesthetic reasons.)


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      cstout RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 24, 2014 07:27 AM

                                      Thanks for the recipes - the steamed eggs sound heavenly & will make a bowl of egg drop soup today. I appreciate you suggesting these - great stuff.

                                2. re: cstout
                                  Chatsworth RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 03:27 PM

                                  Frozen fruit/juice bars during the first couple of days? They may help soothe your throat and get some vitamin C in you.

                                  1. re: Chatsworth
                                    cstout RE: Chatsworth Mar 19, 2014 05:55 PM

                                    Frozen fruit - yes, I just blend up some fruit to have in the freezer - icy heaven. This is when there are no bars in the house. Thanks.

                                    1. re: cstout
                                      Ttrockwood RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 06:18 PM

                                      Adding some grated ginger, candied ginger, or ginger juice (you can find it bottled sometimes) to your frozen fruity blends may help with the nausea.

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood
                                        Madrid RE: Ttrockwood Mar 19, 2014 06:33 PM

                                        the "ginger people" market ginger juice and grated ginger in my area, sold in the Asian section of supermarkets. Really easy to add to anything you are eating. A bit of turmeric is supposed to help as well with nausea.

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood
                                          cstout RE: Ttrockwood Mar 19, 2014 06:38 PM

                                          Trockwood, ginger for nausea - I have completely forgotten that remedy! Sounds like you are speaking from experience on this one.

                                          Really strange, sometimes on my first days after chemo, I would love something immensely sour & have not found what that could be. I bought some real sour drop candies, but the sweetness in there just made me sick. I will just a lemon or lime with a little sea salt & that is better than nothing.

                                          1. re: cstout
                                            Madrid RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 06:53 PM

                                            are sour pickles palatable the first days after? marinating sliced cucumbers with minced ginger and rice vinegar and salt? refrigerate, no need to can or anything complicated like that. If not the cukes themselves, maybe the juice?

                                            1. re: Madrid
                                              cstout RE: Madrid Mar 24, 2014 07:28 AM

                                              Oh yes, anything sour is great - I forgot about cucumbers - thanks for the simple & great recipe.

                                            2. re: cstout
                                              Ttrockwood RE: cstout Mar 21, 2014 07:04 PM

                                              I am! It has helped any time i am feeling queasy. "The ginger people" ginger juice mentioned above is great, i love yogi tea's ginger tea, and with a squeeze of lemon its even better. Candied ginger may bother you since its often overly sweetened.
                                              I also have loved ginger tea made with sliced bashed fresh ginger slices and a few mint leaves- i just leave them in the bottom of my mug.

                                              1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                fldhkybnva RE: Ttrockwood Mar 21, 2014 07:43 PM

                                                I almost bought the yogi ginger tea today then decided against it. Next week I guess.

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                  weezieduzzit RE: fldhkybnva Mar 21, 2014 08:26 PM

                                                  Its good stuff! I think you'll like it, fld.

                                      2. re: cstout
                                        Querencia RE: cstout Mar 28, 2014 06:55 PM

                                        Oh my dear, I am so sorry you have to go through this. I wonder if putting frozen fruit through the Cuisinart to make an icy puree would produce something you could tolerate, that would be soothing to swallow. Like a Slurpy.

                                3. weezieduzzit RE: cstout Mar 15, 2014 08:01 PM

                                  Even with the year round great produce here I keep some Trader Joe's frozen french green beans on hand- they're good!

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: weezieduzzit
                                    cstout RE: weezieduzzit Mar 16, 2014 08:34 AM

                                    How do you fix your frozen French green beans?

                                    1. re: cstout
                                      weezieduzzit RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 04:54 PM

                                      I usually add them to a screaming hot skiller with some coconut oil and blister them, turn the heat down and add chopped garlic until it's browned (but not burnt!) I've also added them to soups, casseroles, steamed them, etc. They hold up really well.

                                      1. re: weezieduzzit
                                        cstout RE: weezieduzzit Mar 19, 2014 06:40 PM

                                        Green beans - I am wondering if some sort of breading on them - maybe panko crumbs & then baked in a hot oven would come close to the ones they sell in restaurants.

                                        1. re: weezieduzzit
                                          fldhkybnva RE: weezieduzzit Mar 22, 2014 01:52 PM

                                          Do you think it'd be OK to cook the green beans for lunch the next day? Will reheating a second time turn them to mush?

                                        2. re: cstout
                                          cheesecake17 RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 12:37 PM

                                          I make them several ways- it's my 3yo daughters favorite vegetable. I buy them from trader joes or in a ginormous bag from Costco
                                          - roasted with garlic and cherry tomatoes
                                          - stir fried with garlic, shallot, soy sauce, mirin (or a splash of rice vinegar), and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
                                          - sautéed with tons of garlic and onions
                                          - stewed with onion, garlic, canned crushed tomato

                                          1. re: cheesecake17
                                            cstout RE: cheesecake17 Mar 19, 2014 06:42 PM

                                            Your recipes for fixing green beans sounds so good - are you using frozen beans?

                                            1. re: cstout
                                              cheesecake17 RE: cstout Mar 21, 2014 06:49 AM

                                              Yes! I use the frozen ones from Costco or trader joes.

                                        3. re: weezieduzzit
                                          foodieX2 RE: weezieduzzit Mar 16, 2014 08:56 AM

                                          Good call weezie, I forgot about those! They are my go to for Sichuan green beans when there are no fresh available.

                                          1. re: weezieduzzit
                                            fldhkybnva RE: weezieduzzit Mar 16, 2014 09:39 AM

                                            I bought them but haven't tried them yet. I was tired of fresh green beans getting slimy.

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                              cheesecake17 RE: fldhkybnva Mar 17, 2014 12:37 PM

                                              I keep my fresh green beans in a brown paper bag. No sliminess

                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                fldhkybnva RE: cheesecake17 Mar 17, 2014 12:39 PM

                                                Ah, thanks for the tip. It works for mushrooms not sure why I never thought about it for green beans.

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                  cheesecake17 RE: fldhkybnva Mar 17, 2014 12:41 PM

                                                  Grandmas secret- mushrooms, cucumbers, string beans. All get dried off and stored in brown lunch bags :)

                                          2. foodieX2 RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 08:28 AM

                                            There are times when frozen works better for me and other times when they just wont.

                                            Stir fries are 99.9% made with fresh veggies. Exception is the occasional frozen peas when I make fried rice. If I have a craving for a stir fry I make it based on what looks good in the produce section. When it's just me I hit the salad bar. A little more $$ but I can get just a handful of things like broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, carrots, etc. No chopping and the stir fry is down in minutes!

                                            For pies both fresh and frozen work greats for things like peach, blueberry, mahogany, etc and many can be made right from their frozen state. For me apple pies are rarely successful from frozen.

                                            However for desserts like strawberry shortcake I would personally only make from fresh in the height of strawberry season.

                                            For smoothies I much prefer them made from frozen fruits and veggies because I like my smoothies really cold and thick. I have to add too much ice when I use fresh and it impacts the texture and dilutes the flavor.

                                            Things that I almost always buy frozen is baby peas, kale and spinach for smoothies, mangos, papaya, edamame, corn kernels (in winter), Maine blueberries (in winter), artichoke hearts and cubes of minced garlic and herbs.

                                            All in all I think the key is to not compromise on quality. If the produce section has nothing but <<much handled droopy things>> and you don't like the results with frozen then I would just make something else. Wait till that fruit or veggie is in season and enjoy it at its peak. And then while you at buy lots of extra and freeze the ones you like to use frozen,

                                            1. j
                                              jbsiegel RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 05:16 PM

                                              I'm not a huge fan of frozen fruit (watery when thawed, etc.), but it's good in a smoothie.

                                              I love frozen veggies, though. If I'm using them cold in a salad, I don't even bother cooking them...just thaw them out and they're ready to go. For with a meal, I'll either get them out ahead of time to thaw and then just warm them up, or heat them from frozen. I have found the quality of most of them to be pretty good. I also like to add certain ones to pasta part way through cooking, and it's all done at the same time. Don't have to wash them either! :-)

                                              1. KarenDW RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 08:26 PM

                                                Frozen fruit (IQF) is handy to have for quick crumble/crisp style desserts. Toss still-frozen berries or chopped apples with minit tapioca and some sugar; into your baking dish. Bake, covered 20-30 min until soft & thickened. Sprinkle with strusle or granola, and bake until crispy. I usually keep blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples and mango on hand.
                                                As for veg: we have commercially frozen peas, diced squash, "mixed veg" (diced carrot, corn kernels, green beans & peas) on hand for making shepherds pie or pot pies, and usually some home-prepared diced onions, peppers and celery for quick prep. (apologies for the long sentence). Frozen pearl onions are a great treat to have on hand for a soup or stew.
                                                If you are inclined to freeze veg at home, remember to blanch (30 seconds or less) and shock, then spin dry before freezing. This kills the enzymes which cause food spoilage, and helps your frozen veg keep its shape and color. Fruit doesn't need the blanching treatment, although a little lemon juice rinse helps with keeping light colored fruits from browning.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: KarenDW
                                                  cstout RE: KarenDW Mar 24, 2014 07:37 AM

                                                  Thanks for the tips on getting the fresh veggies ready to freeze - great to be able to freeze your own.

                                                2. KarenDW RE: cstout Mar 16, 2014 08:29 PM

                                                  One further thought re: vegetables... they are great to have on hand to add nutrition and fiber to pre-fab soups, or scrambled eggs.
                                                  On low-energy days, it's nice to just be able to have something to eat, without wondering about getting to the store, washing produce, and then cooking. [thinking squash, onions and celery from the freezer, with a splash of on-hand or better-than-bouillon stock makes for a quick soup]

                                                  1. fldhkybnva RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 05:56 AM

                                                    I have frozen peppers I've never used. From this thread I'm thinking it's fine to just toss them in the skillet with sausage and don't have to defrost?

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                      cheesecake17 RE: fldhkybnva Mar 17, 2014 12:38 PM

                                                      It's fine. Peppers will get soft, but they're delicious that way.
                                                      Are they the ones from trader joes?
                                                      I use those in pepper steak or brown rice

                                                      1. re: cheesecake17
                                                        fldhkybnva RE: cheesecake17 Mar 17, 2014 12:40 PM

                                                        Yup the trio of bell peppers. I was going to make them for lunch on Wednesday with the spicy Italian sausage from TJs as well.

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                          cheesecake17 RE: fldhkybnva Mar 17, 2014 12:42 PM

                                                          Have no experience with the TJs sausage, but the peppers will be fine. They shrink but taste good

                                                          1. re: cheesecake17
                                                            fldhkybnva RE: cheesecake17 Mar 17, 2014 12:50 PM

                                                            Great thanks, I'll probably just toss the frozen peppers into the skillet and add diced sausage, easy as can be.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                              cheesecake17 RE: fldhkybnva Mar 17, 2014 12:51 PM

                                                              That's what I do, with lots of onions

                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                Ttrockwood RE: fldhkybnva Mar 17, 2014 04:31 PM

                                                                Give the peppers a head start, the TJ ones are kinda thin and give off a lot of liquid at first- may end up steaming your sausage if you add that to the still frozen peppers...

                                                          2. re: cheesecake17
                                                            jbsiegel RE: cheesecake17 Mar 17, 2014 12:52 PM

                                                            I just thaw those and stick them on salads. I like the ones that are the peppers strips (3 colors) and onion mix.

                                                        2. tcamp RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 06:59 AM

                                                          The frozen veggies I generally have on hand, in winter, are corn, peas, spinach, edamame, limas. Also, berries. Broccoli, however, never works well for me unless I use them in a soup where texture is unimportant.

                                                          1. Wtg2Retire RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 10:27 AM

                                                            I was in my doctor's waiting room a few weeks ago; there is a TV in the waiting room with nothing but good health issues addressed. I was somewhat surprised when I heard a voice on the TV say frozen vegetables are better for you than fresh produce - that got my attention, so I started watching. The RD told why frozen vegetables are better by saying that they are picked at their absolute picked, then immediately flash frozen, then bagged, and that the freezing keeps them in their peak. Whereas, fresh produce has to be picked, then boxed, then transported by truck to their destinations and that this can take several days which tremendously reduced the freshness of the produce.

                                                            I thought and thought about this and as a result, I made a decision to try using more frozen vegetables.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Wtg2Retire
                                                              cheesecake17 RE: Wtg2Retire Mar 17, 2014 12:40 PM

                                                              I learned a whole lot about this subject in college nutrition classes. Another benefit of frozen is that they're already prepped for you.

                                                              Personally, I love frozen veggies. Corn, peas, edamame, spinach, string beans, zucchini, snap peas, diced poblanos, diced roasted peppers, pepper medley..... All in my freezer

                                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                                Querencia RE: cheesecake17 Mar 28, 2014 07:02 PM

                                                                I can't resist posting one of my favorite vegetables to freeze, sweet potatoes. Over the holidays when the price drops dramatically I freeze all I have room for. Boil sweet potatoes in their skins. Drain off the water. Cool. The skins slip off easily. Mash the potatoes with a can of crushed pineapple (liquid and all) to a large mixing bowl of potato. You don't need anything electric as they mash easily---a hand masher or even a wooden spoon will do it. Freeze this in meal- or portion-size quantities. With this and a piece of chicken or ham or a pork chop plus anything green, there's dinner.

                                                                1. re: Querencia
                                                                  cstout RE: Querencia Mar 30, 2014 08:17 AM

                                                                  Frozen mashed sweet potatoes - great idea.

                                                                  Wonder if you could just peel & slice the sweet potatoes & flash freeze them ( I see them sold as sweet potato fries).

                                                                  1. re: Querencia
                                                                    cheesecake17 RE: Querencia Mar 30, 2014 11:38 AM

                                                                    I've done this as well. I typically roast the sweet potatoes, scoop out and mash with a sprinkle of salt, brown sugar, and chipotles in adobo.
                                                                    Now that sweet potatoes are cheap again, I'll do this for Passover.

                                                                2. re: Wtg2Retire
                                                                  greygarious RE: Wtg2Retire Mar 17, 2014 04:56 PM

                                                                  My mother told me that when I was learning to cook, 50 yrs ago. She'd learned it from a magazine or the radio, I assume. Made perfect sense to me. So I was surprised when comments were made on the Julia & Jacques show - filmed maybe 25 yrs ago - denigrating the nutritional value of frozen produce. Unless you have your own garden, or shop at a farmer's market and rush home, you are best off with frozen, as far as nutrients are concerned.

                                                                3. JTPhilly RE: cstout Mar 17, 2014 12:50 PM

                                                                  I love to cook with fresh, local, seasonal etc but I try to always have some frozen veggies on hand - I cant always shop for fresh produce during the week and the frozen can be a big help in making sure there is veg in the meals - also that it is generally chopped, cleaned and par cooked it takes a few steps out of prep. One of the more useful and healthful items in your grocers freezer.

                                                                  My favorites are leafy greens and peas as they tend to not have any frozen taste and leafy greens are one of the harder to keep fresh items. OTOH I don't find much of a need for frozen potatoes or carrots which I do usually have on hand, require little prep.

                                                                  1. c
                                                                    Chatsworth RE: cstout Mar 18, 2014 11:46 PM

                                                                    Sorry to hear about your health problems and chemo.

                                                                    Not fruit or veg, but I buy from Costco the bags of individually wrapped flash frozen fish fillets. I find them very handy to have in the freezer so I can just bung one in the oven with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Chatsworth
                                                                      fldhkybnva RE: Chatsworth Mar 19, 2014 02:57 AM

                                                                      I only recently started buying frozen fish and it's very convenient and cheaper. I still buy fresh but the freezer is always of frozen filets.

                                                                      1. re: Chatsworth
                                                                        cstout RE: Chatsworth Mar 19, 2014 06:41 AM

                                                                        Frozen fish fillets - something I will try. Saw other bagged things like chicken breasts, but have never tried them either.

                                                                        Thanks for suggesting this.

                                                                        1. re: cstout
                                                                          biondanonima RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 07:39 AM

                                                                          IQF chicken breast/tenderloins/boneless thighs are really great too - I buy them in big bags at Costco and I find the quality is usually very high. There are some brands of frozen burgers that aren't too bad, as well - I used to buy some pretty tasty chicken burgers at Sam's Club, and Costco carries a salmon burger that's quite good, with minimal additives.

                                                                          1. re: biondanonima
                                                                            autumm RE: biondanonima Mar 19, 2014 06:51 PM

                                                                            We really enjoy the costco salmon burgers. I found a basil mustard at ikea (of all places) which goes great with it. Some pickled onions add a bit of crunch.

                                                                            The individual frozen fish from costco is a big time saver for us. I rarely buy fresh anymore, because most "fresh" fish in MN has been frozen already anyways.

                                                                          2. re: cstout
                                                                            masha RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 08:26 AM

                                                                            If you have a TJs nearby, I find that they have very reasonably priced flash-frozen wild-caught fish fillets. I regularly buy the TJs salmon and cod. Much better than the farm-raised fillets on display at the fish counter at my local grocery store -- which are not really "fresh" anyway, but rather thawed. (One of the problems of living in the Midwest, where fresh-caught ocean fish is not readily available at retail and sells at a premium, since it has to be flown in overnight.)

                                                                            1. re: masha
                                                                              fldhkybnva RE: masha Mar 19, 2014 08:47 AM

                                                                              TJs is where I started my adventure with frozen fish. Wegmans also has a great selection of wild fish.

                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                masha RE: fldhkybnva Mar 19, 2014 09:09 AM

                                                                                If only we had Wegmans in Chicago!

                                                                            2. re: cstout
                                                                              KarenDW RE: cstout Mar 28, 2014 06:30 PM

                                                                              Something to be aware of: some IQF chicken (etc) is "seasoned" before processing. So, check for sodium-containing ingredients and other preservative items. It can be easy-ish to IQF your own stuff, if you have a separate freezer. Cut fresh items to individual size. (I like to get boneless chicken thighs) Place on a tray, with parchment between layers. Freeze for an hour or four :) Then transfer to heavy-duty zip bags.
                                                                              Obviously a task for a higher-energy day. But nice "insurance" for other days.

                                                                          3. ChrisOfStumptown RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 12:13 AM

                                                                            Frozen berries are a staple item for me. I eat them with yogurt, nearly daily. They deflate and lose their juice, but this is desirable to flavor the yogurt itself.

                                                                            For desert I would recommend turnovers or crepes where the fruit is not visible. Partnering with creme fraiche or sour cream that will take the liquid would be good. Puff pastry is your friend, you can defrost pastry and frozen fruit and get something nice in the oven pretty quickly.

                                                                            Hope this helps.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                              cstout RE: ChrisOfStumptown Mar 19, 2014 07:05 AM

                                                                              Puff pastry, crepes & turnovers - great ideas.

                                                                              You & so many others have what I call the "essence of cooking" - this is something that cannot be taught, although it is hinted at in a few cookbooks.These are simple gems that transform a dish into one that has a little something extra going for it.

                                                                              Your "essence" was mentioning that sour cream or fraiche will take up the liquid of the fruit, hence, no runny turnovers or whatever.

                                                                              One more reason to read the all the threads, you never know when a simple statement like that will up your cooking a notch.

                                                                              1. re: cstout
                                                                                ChrisOfStumptown RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 04:04 PM

                                                                                Gosh that is very generous to say -maybe overmuch. But thank you for saying so.

                                                                              2. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                wonderwoman RE: ChrisOfStumptown Mar 19, 2014 03:58 PM

                                                                                +1. i always have frozen cherries and blueberries on hand to mix with nuts into plain, low-fat greek yogurt i flavor with a few drops of almond and vanilla extract.

                                                                              3. The Dairy Queen RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 03:59 AM

                                                                                I also read somewhere here on chowhound that you can roast frozen cauliflower and (I think) broccoli. I'll see if I can find the link. ETA: aha, here it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/361877

                                                                                I wish you the very best with your chemo. Have you seen this chemohounding thread? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7443...


                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                  cstout RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 19, 2014 07:20 AM

                                                                                  Will check out the frozen cauliflower link, glad to know I still can have roasted.

                                                                                  I was so hoping there would be a thread about chemo cooking, but was hesitant to start one myself since I did not know if these types of subjects are acceptable.

                                                                                  Thank you so much for the links -

                                                                                  1. re: cstout
                                                                                    Madrid RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 07:35 AM

                                                                                    The home cooking board is a caring community and very open. Most any subject is welcome, not only acceptable.

                                                                                    We'd love to hear how you do with the chemo and as your ability to taste and eat and tolerate changes over time....most of us know someone who's been through chemo even if we haven't done it ourselves (dare I say, yet?)

                                                                                    take care and best wishes.

                                                                                    1. re: Madrid
                                                                                      cstout RE: Madrid Mar 24, 2014 08:30 AM

                                                                                      Madrid, thanks for the kind words, unfortunately chemo effects each person so differently & even effects the individual from one chemo to the next one.

                                                                                      So, the foods that worked after the last chemo may be absolutely disgusting after the next chemo. On the other hand, some folks breeze through the treatments with no nausea or other ill effects at all.

                                                                                      I happen to have stage 4 inoperable lung cancer. Never did smoke or be around chemicals except for being exposed to second hand smoke for years in the work environment. Also, loved to do a lot of grilling outdoors, but those things cannot be proven to be the cause.

                                                                                      There are all types of cancers & all types of chemos, so please try to understand if your loved one likes certain things one go round & rejects them the next. They are not trying to be difficult or picky - just trying to adjust to strange changes in their taste buds.

                                                                                      I hope you guys never have to experience this stuff. Listen to your body & go to the doctor asap if you think something strange is going on.

                                                                                      Now, back to the frozen foods, I think I need to make some different sauces to serve over the veggies, that will help to get by for a little change.

                                                                                    2. re: cstout
                                                                                      biondanonima RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 07:36 AM

                                                                                      I'm not a fan of frozen vegetables but I do usually have frozen cauliflower around - I like it pureed, as the base of low-carb cream soups and sauces. I also like to keep frozen methi around, for Indian dishes - if you have an Indian grocer nearby it is usually very inexpensive and adds fabulous flavor anywhere you would use "greens."

                                                                                      1. re: biondanonima
                                                                                        Chatsworth RE: biondanonima Mar 19, 2014 03:33 PM

                                                                                        cstout - do you have a stick blender? I find mine so easy to use for pureeing soups etc. No fiddling, lightweight, and very easy to clean-up.

                                                                                        1. re: Chatsworth
                                                                                          cstout RE: Chatsworth Mar 19, 2014 06:00 PM

                                                                                          I do not have have a stick blender, but wish so many times I had one. You are right, it is quite heavy & bulky to clean. In fact, I wish I had one instead of that space hogging monster.

                                                                                          What is your brand - will go on over to Amazon & order one.

                                                                                          1. re: cstout
                                                                                            Ttrockwood RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 06:22 PM

                                                                                            I have a five year old cuisinart stick blender that i have beaten the crap out of and it still awesome.
                                                                                            Just be sure everything comes apart to clean and put thru the dishwasher, about $30 will get you a really great one.

                                                                                            1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                                                              masha RE: Ttrockwood Mar 19, 2014 06:30 PM

                                                                                              I have the same Cuisinart stick blender. I like it a lot. I don't do anything heavy duty with it but it is easy to use and perfectly adequate for relatively straightforward pureeing -- soups, dips, etc. I have the one that only has the blender attachment -- no chopping, no whipping.

                                                                                            2. re: cstout
                                                                                              Chatsworth RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 06:26 PM

                                                                                              Sorry, my tablet doesn't like me doing links to CH, but I just googled "amazon cuisinart stick blender" and the first hit took me where I wanted to go.

                                                                                              I prefer the stainless steel ones to the plastic ones because I don't like the idea of putting plastic in very hot liquid.

                                                                                              Cuisinart-CSB-75BC-2-Speed-Immersion-Blender is very similar to mine, though mine doesn't have two speed.

                                                                                              1. re: cstout
                                                                                                Madrid RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 06:29 PM

                                                                                                Mine is a Cuisinart Smart Stick. It came with a deep about one cup container that works well for small portions. It also works really well in the soup pot itself....you just have to be careful not to overheat and keep moving it up and down and all around. So much easier than pouring everything in and out of the food processor or blender.

                                                                                                I'm in Boston, wish I could give you mine! I don't know if other stick blenders are easier to use without burning out. All you have to do is release the blade portion and then just rinse or wash before using again. And be sure whatever container you are blending in is deep enough so it doesn't all come out blasting you.

                                                                                                1. re: Madrid
                                                                                                  masha RE: Madrid Mar 19, 2014 06:39 PM

                                                                                                  My Cuisinart replaced a Kitchen Aid that was about the same price. I like the Cuisinart much better. I find the controls much easier to use -- just high & low, whereas the KA had 10 speeds, which was silly. And, I find that the Cuisinart just fits better in my hands (I am small, with small hands).

                                                                                                  BTW, the KA did not burn out. I wrecked it by placing the wand portion in the bottom shelf of my DW during one of the rare instances when I ran the DW with the heat cycle and the plastic part that inserted into the base got distorted from the heat. This was just carelessness on my part.

                                                                                                  1. re: Madrid
                                                                                                    cstout RE: Madrid Mar 24, 2014 08:37 AM

                                                                                                    Hey Madrid, thanks for the offer - that big 'ol blender is going to be put on the back shelf & I am ordering my own. Looks like Cuisinart is a popular brand.

                                                                                                    I will remember to avoid churning the stuff all over the walls, not a good thing.

                                                                                            3. re: cstout
                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: cstout Mar 19, 2014 09:14 AM

                                                                                              You are welcome. We want to help and support you.


                                                                                              1. re: cstout
                                                                                                Peg RE: cstout Mar 20, 2014 02:04 AM

                                                                                                I started a thread in 'special diets' about eating when neutropenic - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/926583

                                                                                                (i.e. what to eat when chemo has knocked out your immune system).

                                                                                                When I last had chemo (a year ago) I was never neutropenic so ate whatever took my fancy - but this time round I have to be careful, and can't eat nice cheeses or undercooked eggs (amongst other things). Raw veg is deemed risky - so salads tend to be composed of cooked veg, for which frozen veg is not ideal.

                                                                                                Avocados are a life-saver for me, as they can be easily peeled as so are 'safe'. And I have developed a mild addiction to peas mixed with mashed potatoes - for which frozen peas are ideal.

                                                                                                Currently my sense of taste is very muted, so I'm adding hot sauces/mustards/pickles to many foods just so I can taste something!

                                                                                                (I am in hospital, so don't have the freedom to cook).

                                                                                                Good luck with your treatment!

                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                cheesecake17 RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 19, 2014 07:27 AM

                                                                                                I roast frozen cauliflower. My 3yo favorite vegetable. ("White broccoli")

                                                                                              3. alkapal RE: cstout Mar 21, 2014 09:13 AM

                                                                                                i'm a huge fan of frozen black eyed peas, turnips & greens, collards, mustard greens and the frozen chopped spinach. i love the birds-eye steamfresh microwave veggies. they always come out perfectly done.

                                                                                                i always have frozen yellow, red and orange bell pepper strips, too, ready for a number of dishes.

                                                                                                1. c
                                                                                                  cstout RE: cstout Mar 24, 2014 09:24 AM

                                                                                                  Hey everyone, I just started a new thread called "coping with cancer, chemo & food changes"

                                                                                                  This thread is great for our frozen food discussions, but I think I am getting a little "off topic" on the cancer subject, don't want to get the moderators after me.

                                                                                                  Hope to see you there.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: cstout
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: cstout Mar 24, 2014 09:58 AM

                                                                                                    A new thread sounds like a good idea! Here's a link to it http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9699...


                                                                                                  2. MidwesternerTT RE: cstout Mar 26, 2014 06:30 AM

                                                                                                    Here's a paraphrased recipe for a fruit salsa that uses some frozen fruit

                                                                                                    FRUIT SALSA

                                                                                                    1 package (16 ounces) mixed frozen berries, thawed and chopped - easier to chop while mostly frozen
                                                                                                    2 medium peaches, diced or 1 (15 ounce) can sliced peaches drained and diced (not frozen ones for this)
                                                                                                    2 medium kiwifruit, peeled and diced
                                                                                                    3 Tablespoons sugar
                                                                                                    2 Tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from the lime)
                                                                                                    1 ½ teaspoons grated lime peel (from 1 small lime)

                                                                                                    Note - frozen berries take 2-4 hours to thaw. Combine ingredients and let rest an hour or so. Use a slotted spoon to serve. Great with cinnamon-sugar warmed tortilla chips (brush melted butter on flour tortilla, sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar, cut tortilla into 8 pieces, bake 400 degrees, 6- 8 minutes on an ungreased baking sheet).

                                                                                                    Recipe credit: Laura Lancour, Milwaukee, WI in May/June 2004 Quick Cooking Magazine

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT
                                                                                                      cstout RE: MidwesternerTT Mar 26, 2014 04:15 PM

                                                                                                      Fruit salsa - just the thing I would love to eat now. Thanks so much for the recipe.

                                                                                                      Going shopping tomorrow for all the ingredients.

                                                                                                    2. g
                                                                                                      gemvt RE: cstout Mar 26, 2014 04:28 PM

                                                                                                      I much prefer fresh to frozen texturally more than anything else. However, I eat peas & corn of the frozen variety almost exclusively. We get about 5 weeks of fresh corn and frozen peas taste better to me.

                                                                                                      I won't even buy frozen broccoli anymore, it's far too mushy and unpalatable.

                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: gemvt
                                                                                                        cstout RE: gemvt Mar 26, 2014 04:57 PM

                                                                                                        I agree with you about the frozen broccoli being mushy. The only way I use it is in soups & casseroles. Same thing for cauliflower.

                                                                                                        1. re: cstout
                                                                                                          alkapal RE: cstout Mar 26, 2014 05:13 PM

                                                                                                          try birdseye steamfresh broccoli

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                            cstout RE: alkapal Mar 26, 2014 06:02 PM

                                                                                                            Birdseye steamfresh broccoli - thanks

                                                                                                        2. re: gemvt
                                                                                                          jbsiegel RE: gemvt Mar 27, 2014 05:10 AM

                                                                                                          I do use frozen broccoli and cauliflower, but don't actually cook them. I just thaw and then warm as needed.

                                                                                                          I don't use frozen Brussel's sprouts, though. THOSE are mushy!

                                                                                                          Love frozen edamame.

                                                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                                            cstout RE: jbsiegel Mar 28, 2014 04:59 PM

                                                                                                            Frozen Brussel's sprouts - I have learned to get a cast iron skillet very hot, add a little butter & olive oil & immediately add the frozen sprouts. Keep temp on high & keep stirring around & they will get browned all over. At the last minute before serving, I add some crushed garlic & kosher salt & they taste good to me.

                                                                                                            If you keep the temp on high, it evaporates the moisture coming out of the veggie. I also do this for frozen green beans.

                                                                                                            1. re: cstout
                                                                                                              jbsiegel RE: cstout Mar 28, 2014 05:58 PM

                                                                                                              I don't do frozen green beans either...

                                                                                                              (Actually...shhhh...don't tell my kids...I really don't like green beans!)

                                                                                                              1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                                                cheesecake17 RE: jbsiegel Mar 30, 2014 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                There's a difference between regular frozen green beans and the haricot vert style frozen. I won't use the regular type.

                                                                                                                1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: jbsiegel Mar 31, 2014 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                  i LOVE making the frozen "italian pole beans" with onion, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil, the mid-eastern way. so meaty and savory. '

                                                                                                                  i find the pict-sweet brand to be high quality (i get at harris teeter). http://www.pictsweet.com/our-products...

                                                                                                                  here is a recipe -- i use more onion and less tomato. and this is good room temp, too. lasts a while in fridge. YUM http://www.tripoli-lebanon.com/lubyab...

                                                                                                                  AND if you grew up in the south, these are pole beans like Mama used to make with some rendered bacon! ;-). YUM again!

                                                                                                              2. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                                                alkapal RE: jbsiegel Mar 31, 2014 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                ditto on the frozen edamame -- shelled!

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                  fldhkybnva RE: alkapal Mar 31, 2014 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                  I just tried edamame for the first time Friday and immediately bought a bag of frozen shelled which I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday afternoon.

                                                                                                                  Do they not freeze as well in shell?

                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                    jbsiegel RE: fldhkybnva Mar 31, 2014 12:22 PM

                                                                                                                    They freeze GREAT in the shell. You can just microwave them (sometime in the original bag), salt them with sea salt and serve them in a bowl. Taste exactly like what you get in a Japanese restaurant. YUM!!!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                                                      fldhkybnva RE: jbsiegel Mar 31, 2014 01:29 PM

                                                                                                                      The directions on the shelled suggested to boil, I'm wondering if I could microwave instead.

                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                        jbsiegel RE: fldhkybnva Mar 31, 2014 05:45 PM

                                                                                                                        For the shelled, I usually just get them out early to thaw. Then, if I'm using them in a cold dish (salad, etc.), I just use as is. If they need heating up, it's a quick zap in the microwave.

                                                                                                            2. KarenDW RE: cstout Mar 28, 2014 06:37 PM

                                                                                                              I forget. Did I mention kale and collards? Either commercially frozen, or "freeze your own". For DIY, I wash & dry, the pack loosely into zip-bags. Once frozen, I open said bag to release the excess air. Then I crush the still-frozen and brittle leaves to compress further; and release any remaining air. Easy way to relieve the pressure of using up a whole bunch of leaves when you only wanted a little.

                                                                                                              1. q
                                                                                                                Querencia RE: cstout Mar 28, 2014 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                I buy frozen raspberries at Trader Joe's to eat on cereal. I put them on frozen and wait a few minutes---they thaw within a minute and keep the milk nice and cold. TJ's frozen raw pineapple bites are good in salad and they, too, thaw almost instantly---I just put them in the salad frozen and by the time I eat them they are thawed, or thawed enough. (It helps to serve frozen fruit before it's quite thawed so that there will still be ice crystals in it and this compensates a bit for the tissue breakdown that occurs in freezing that makes fruit mushy.
                                                                                                                Believe it or not, I learned that in 7th Grade Home Economics class some years back.) I use the frozen strawberries or blueberries to make a big cobbler---I snip the corner of two bags and thaw them in the microwave, dump them into a baking dish, mix in a little flour and some sugar, and stir up a batter for the top, sprinkle with sugar, and bake.

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