Ignore This Recipe Instruction When Cooking with Frozen Vegetables

published Feb 25, 2015
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

I’ve been testing recipes for many years now, so I’m usually a strict follower of instructions. Deviating from them can sometimes drastically change the outcome of the recipe. There’s also a certain satisfaction I get from methodically following and completing the steps, a bit like working my way down a checklist.

But there are a few instructions, based on experience, that I will always choose to ignore, and one of them involves cooking with small frozen vegetables.

Skip the Thawing!

If a recipe calls for thawing frozen vegetables like peas or corn before cooking them further, I just skip that step completely. These tiny vegetables cook so quickly that any simmering soup or stew will heat them through in just a few minutes. The same goes if you want to stir them into pasta or casseroles – chuck them in straight into the pot from the freezer!

Doing this means that you don’t have to remember to take the vegetables out to thaw before cooking, plus you don’t dirty an extra bowl or strainer. It also decreases the likelihood that these vegetables will overcook.

Small vegetables like peas, corn, or even pearl onions work best since they cook quickly and evenly, but depending on what I’m making, even bigger vegetables like broccoli florets can skip the defrosting process if they’re going to be cooked in a lot of liquid.

The One Exception

The one exception to my no-need-to-thaw rule is if I’m not cooking the vegetables further, like for corn salad. If you’re doing that, go through the regular thawing process instead.

Do you thaw frozen vegetables before cooking them? Why or why not?