When you’re shopping for produce, don’t forget to head down the aisles of the Freezer Section. Behind all those chilly doors is a bounty of frozen fruits
for all your cooking needs. Washed, trimmed and chopped, frozen produce is hard to beat for time-saving convenience. And since these fruits and veggies are picked at peak ripeness and frozen quickly, they are generally just as nutritious as the fresh stuff. We have a freezerful of tasty recipe ideas to get you started.
Top Tips for Using and Storing Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
- In most cases, frozen fruits and vegetables work best in dishes that are cooked. For fruits, that means muffins, cobblers and sauces. For veggies, it’s soups, stews and casseroles.
- Since vegetables lose much of their crispness in the freezer, avoid using them in salad-type dishes that require an al dente texture. And avoid thawing and tossing frozen peas and corn directly into uncooked dishes, such as salads; blanch them in boiling water for one minute before.
- Frozen produce is generally best cooked straight from the freezer. For example, frozen blueberries folded into muffins will maintain their shape better than thawed ones. Bonus: They won’t turn the batter blue!
- If stored at a consistent –18°C (–0.4°F), most frozen fruits and veggies will keep for 10 to 12 months. Green beans, however, should be used up within eight months.
There are plenty of advantages to having a few bags of frozen fruit on hand. Instead of waiting patiently for fresh mangoes to ripen, you can have the sweet fruit ripe and ready to throw into your morning smoothie (or our luscious Green Mango Smoothie Bowl
). It’s been peeled, pitted and chopped so you don’t have to bother.
Another plus is savings. In winter, imported fresh berries can be pricey. Frozen blueberries are the way to go for so many recipes, from muffins and pancakes to chewy Blueberry & Brown Butter Squares
and fragrant Blueberry Grunt
. Even when the weather’s fine, frozen raspberries are a handy, less-perishable alternative to fresh, especially in a heavenly Apple & Raspberry Crisp
. They give a summery spin to a classic autumn dessert.
There are also certain fruits that are in season for such a short period. The freezer can deliver their sweet taste any time you like! Cherries are a great example. Our frozen fruit is amazing in sweet-and-sour Cherry Sauce Chicken
or dreamy Chocolate, Cherry & Blueberry Frozen Yogourt Pie
year-round. Rhubarb is another fruit—well, technically, vegetable—with a relatively short growing season. Washed, trimmed and chopped, frozen rhubarb is ready to cook right out of the package. Its sweet-tart flavour is fantastic in a simple homemade chutney served with roast turkey or pork.
Finally, frozen fruit saves on prep work. The next time you feel like whipping up blender drinks, try frozen mixed berries in our deep purple Berry Beet Daiquiri
or get a jump on spring with a refreshing Strawberry-Rhubarb Margarita
. Bonus: Frozen fruit makes blended drinks icy but won’t dilute them like plain ice cubes can.
Like cherries, fresh peas are only in season for a short window. But frozen sweet peas are available year-round, with no shelling required. Toss them into everything from soups to risottos to stir-fries, or try them mashed up in Bacon-Topped Pea & Mint Crostini
or Herb Roasted Steak with Green Pea Mash
. For a change from peas, pick up a bag of frozen shelled edamame; these green soybeans are mild-tasting, and terrific in stir-fries and Asian-inspired noodle dishes. They can also turn into deliciously creamy Edamame Hummus
Since spinach takes a while to pick, wash, blanch and chop, frozen spinach is the ultimate convenience food, whether it’s for dips, quiches or classic creamed spinach. Use it to sneak some veggies into your kids’ dinner in our creamy Spinach Mac & Cheese
, or try it as a tasty accompaniment in Spinach & Leek Topped Tilapia
There’s also an entire range of Compliments frozen veggie mixes that make life a whole lot easier when you’re looking for dinner shortcuts. For a quick side dish, steam our popular California Style Mix (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) in a pan of simmering water, and serve it with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley. Our Vegetable Mix for Soup (carrots, celery, turnips, onions, parsnips and leeks) takes about half the work out of making your favourite recipes, whether you’re into bean and barley or minestrone. And the mix isn’t just for soups! Try it in our kid-friendly Baked Veggie Nuggets
for a delicious surprise.