It's one of my pet peeves: Buying a new bag of frozen vegetables only to later discover a partially used one - with a sad little twist-tie tying up one corner of the bag - down in the bottom of the freezer. It happened again the other day, and I was done with it. My husband came into the kitchen, asking what in the world I was doing. The freezer was nearly emptied out on the countertops. I was flinging bags everywhere.
Yes, that looks nice, neat and well organized, but it wasn't.
It only worked if the bags were turned labels up - so that you can read it. But, once you've used some, and tied up the end of the bag, well, not so much. The only one working for me? That bag of corn.
I knew right away that the bag of corn held the answer to my dilemma of 'mystery bags' of frozen vegetables. I mean, really, look at all those nearly identical bags! Who can tell what's in them?
I adore frozen vegetables, and appreciate them even more now that running to the grocery store on a whim isn't a great idea. The pandemic. I can whip up a meal from the freezer in nothing flat. And, bulk packaged vegetables make a lot of it possible. But, there's those darn look-alike bags.
I started by getting my Food-Saver vacuum sealer out, with the zip-lok, resealable bags. Vacuum sealing these smaller bags is brilliant. Reach in and get what you need, close 'em and suck the air back out through that little one-way valve/hole. Toss back into the freezer for another day.
I've posted about my Food-Saver elsewhere, and I stand by it. The machine saves money.
But, let's move on. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, no worries. Zip-lok bags still work just fine - like for these frozen peppers. Oh, and I love these! Fresh peppers are fine for some dishes - and salads, of course. But, if you're going to toss them into a soup, for example, the frozen is just great. Grab what you need and put the rest back. No more, sad looking, science-experiment peppers in the fresh produce bin.
Peas and corn. I can't imagine not having those in my freezer at all times. Frozen peas are one of the most popular frozen vegetables, and have been since Clarence Birdseye discovered in the 1920s that peas quickly blanched before being frozen result in a vividly green pea.
As Mark Kurlansky writes in his excellent book Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man, “Undeniably, Birdseye changed our civilization. He created an industry by modernizing the process of food preservation and in so doing nationalized and then internationalized food distribution.” Moreover, Kurlansky writes, Birdseye “greatly contributed to the development of industrial-scale agriculture.” Once we could stockpile produce that previously would have gone bad, we could grow more and more food and keep it indefinitely.
Edamame? Of course, frozen is almost always better, less expensive and more convenient!
By WWII, as we shipped more canned food to the troops overseas, American consumers here at home began to buy more frozen foods.
Green beans? They're always just as good as fresh! I toss these in soups, or steam them for dinner.
These ubiquitous beans were featured prominently on many of the novel, 'heat and serve' T.V. dinners that came into being during the 1950's. At least three different sources have been attributed to the TV dinner, according to the Library of Congress: Gerry Thomas, the Swanson Brothers, and Maxson Food Systems, Inc. Strato-Plates were first made available by Maxson Food Systems for the U.S. Navy and the airlines in 1944.
And, their longer, thinner French cousins, Haricots Verts are every bit as good frozen.
Asparagus spears? Yes. Kabocha squash? Yes. Baby Lima beans? Yes, again.
The whole kit and kaboodle of frozen vegetables - and mushrooms - work just as good as fresh, without so much of the waste that happens when you aren't able to use that fresh produce in a timely manner.
Ah! Now I know what I've got at a glance! And, how much is left, too.
No more 'mystery bags' for me! This freezer will be lean and mean.
Now, I'm gonna go heat up a T.V. dinner.
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