Tips and Ideas
Here are some general recommendations for enjoying locally grown frozen produce.
Fruit: Eat frozen or only thaw slightly. Use frozen directly in recipes. Reduce the amount of liquids added to recipes if the recipe calls for fresh fruit. Great in milkshakes and smoothies. Use as topping for ice cream. Mix into yogurt. Use in muffins, pies and cobblers.
Vegetables: Add when frozen to recipes – typically no need to thaw (except just enough to loosen from package.) Most of the vegetables have been blanched, so they need some cooking time, but not too much. General rules of thumb – cook frozen vegetables ½ as long as you would cook fresh, reduce amount of added liquid or increase amount of thickening ingredients. Use vegetables directly from frozen in stir fry, casseroles, soups, into the oven for roasting. Frozen tomatoes should be cooked; not used raw.
Blueberries: Eat them right out of the bag. Add them to pancakes, muffins, & cobblers. Drop them into hot oatmeal. Check out the share recipes for blueberry pancakes, muffins, and blueberry-peach crisp.
Cranberries: Bake them into bread or muffins, or make a cranberry-walnut pie. Traditional cranberry relish is easy with frozen, ready-to-go cranberries. Or try a savory barbeque sauce.
Peaches: For the peach halves, you can remove the skins easily by running them under warm water, or leave them on for taste and fiber. Frozen peaches can be used to make great smoothies and desserts. They can also be used for savory sauces for meats, e.g. a ginger-peach sauce.
Strawberries: Eat them right out of the bag, or make shakes and smoothies. Add them to cobblers, pies and cheesecakes. Make a simple sauce & use it in salad dressings or as an ice cream or fruit salad topping.
Raspberries: Eat them just slightly thawed as a snack. Add them to cold cereal or hot oatmeal, yogurt or smoothies. Make raspberry sauce or salad dressing. They can be used to make great desserts; combine with other berries for a terrific pie. Decorate the top of a cheesecake. Float frozen raspberries in beverages – sparkling, juice, punch – sure to be popular in kid & grown-up beverages.
Asparagus: Frozen asparagus works well in risotto, stews and soups. Excellent addition to Asian-style stir-fries. For a more simple preparation, asparagus can be oven roasted or steamed. It pairs well with hollandaise, butter or olive oil, Parmesan cheese and bacon. Try it in quiche, or a frittata.
Cauliflower: Can be steamed, stir fried or roasted. Works well in casseroles, soups and curries. Pairs well with many flavors – cheeses, garlic, curry, ginger, soy sauce, lemon, and butter, just to name a few.
Sweet corn kernels in their natural juice: just heat, eat and enjoy! Use in chowder, soup, salads and salsas. Doesn’t a corn pudding or spoon bread sound good for a cold night? Combine with some summer squash to make calabacitas.
Edamame: Japanese green soy beans are another great locally grown vegetable you can just heat and enjoy. Heat in boiling water and then cool and shell. For use in recipes that have additional cooking time, you can simply thaw and shell. Toss on salads, in soups and stir fries.
Broccoli: How about a broccoli casserole on a cold night? A quiche? Broccoli pizza? Use in soup, stew or stir fry. Can just thaw and use in a salad. Or just heat (steam or microwave) and eat. Maybe a little lemon butter or roasted garlic with that? Best to thaw broccoli before using in casserole or quiches; no need to thaw for soup, stew or sautés.
Green beans: Use in your favorite green bean recipes, just reduce cooking time. Green beans work well in stir fry, soups & casseroles. They pair well with garlic, lemon, butter, sesame, and smoked meats. You can roast them in a hot oven. You can even just thaw them and use them in a salad.
Summer squash medley: Locavorious summer squash is a mix of organic zucchini and yellow squash. It will have a softer texture than fresh zucchini & squash. Use it in casseroles, soups and veggie side dishes. Check out the Locavorious recipes for calabacitas, minestrone and pot pie. It’s best to eat frozen squash dishes right after cooking; they will lose color and flavor if left in the refrigerator.
Sugar snap peas: Sweet edible-pod peas are wonderful in stir-fries and in creamy pasta dishes. Enjoy just lightly steamed. Even though these frozen local beauties won’t have the crisp crunch of fresh spring snaps, they still work well thawed and mixed into a salad. Try a snap pea (or green bean) almandine.
Red peppers: Roast in a hot oven with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and use on sandwiches, pizza, salads or puree into a sauce. Make fajitas. Add to chili, chowder or stir fry. Pairs well with a lot of other vegetables – tomatoes, corn, greens, edamame…
Rhubarb: A vegetable we like to think of as a fruit, rhubarb is a relative of buckwheat and has an earthy, sour flavor. Needs the addition of something sweet to balance its acidity. Use it in pies and desserts, or in jams, pickles and sauces. A great compilation of rhubarb recipes is at www.rhubarbinfo.com. Rhubarb pairs nicely with strawberries and apples.
Stewed Roma or San Marzano tomatoes: Use in recipes in place of canned tomatoes. Add to chili. Make tomato sauce, tomato soup or bisque…like a roasted red pepper & tomato bisque.
Whole Roma or San Marzano tomatoes: Use whole frozen tomatoes in place of canned tomatoes in recipes; very handy for recipes that call for 1 or 2 tomatoes. Use in stews, soups, bean dishes. Easy to cook down into a quick fresh-tasting topping for pasta.
Pumpkin or squash puree: Just heat, eat and enjoy. Can add butter or maple syrup. Eat as you would mashed potatoes. Makes wonderful soups and bisques, or pasta sauce, ravioli filling or risotto. And of course, make a pie!
For more specifics check out the recipe blog: