Frozen vegetables are a convenient way to add produce to your daily diet. Frozen food companies package vegetables such as peas, carrots, beans, broccoli and corn when they are fresh, preserving them by deep freezing. Eat Right Ontario notes that frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. How you prepare frozen vegetables, however, can affect their taste and nutrients. Harvard Medial School warns that boiling vegetables in water can reduce their water-soluble vitamins. Cook them the right way to avoid mushy vegetables and add flavor with fresh or dried herbs.
Steaming or Blanching
Fill a pot with about 2 to 3 inches of water. Place the pot on the stove and let the water come to a boil. Reduce the heat to allow the water to simmer.
Place a sieve, steaming pot or bamboo steaming basket over the simmering water. Add the frozen vegetables and cover them with a lid. Allow the hot steam to cook the vegetables all the way through.
Reduce the heat and remove the frozen vegetables from the steaming pot. Remove the lid and allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Alternatively, you can avoid overcooking by blanching the vegetables. To do this, dunk the cooked vegetables into a pot of ice water for a second or two.
Cooking in the Microwave
Add half a tablespoon of water into a bowl or microwave-safe cooking dish. Place the frozen vegetables into the dish and cover them with a lid.
Place the dish into the microwave and cook them on high until they are cooked all the way through. This should only take a few minutes. The small amount of water at the bottom of the dish and water released from the frozen vegetables help to steam-cook them.
Remove the vegetables from the microwave and drain any remaining water from them. Transfer the cooked vegetables into a serving dish.
Steam vegetables with vegetable or meat broth to infuse them with flavor. Add a dehydrated stock cube to water if you don't have vegetable or meat stock on hand.
Cook frozen vegetables with fresh or dried herbs for extra flavor. Add dried herbs to the frozen vegetables while cooking to allow them to absorb moisture. Add chopped, fresh herbs to the hot vegetables one to three minutes before you have finished cooking to retain their fresh taste.
Sprinkle spices such as nutmeg, ground pepper, chilli powder or sea salt onto the frozen vegetables for added flavor. Use salt and spices sparingly, and add them when you are about halfway finished cooking to keep the flavors more pungent.
Things You'll Need
Steaming pot, sieve or basket
Ice water, if needed
Microwave-safe cooking dish or bowl
Vegetable or meat broth
Fresh or dried herbs
Frozen vegetables do not have to be defrosted before cooking. If you prefer to defrost them, place them in the fridge for one to two hours and prepare immediately.
Use any leftover water from steaming or microwaving frozen vegetables, in soups, gravies or sauces. This water will contains some of the nutrients from the vegetables.
Do not return defrosted vegetables to the freezer. This can cause contamination and spoiling.