Monday, June 15, 2009

On Frozen Vegetables

Plants form the core of my diet anyway, but this week the consumption of fruit and vegetables goes into overdrive for reasons of frugality and practicality.

We hosted a small party for my son's baptism this weekend, and we had about five times more fruit than was necessary. It's not that we assume everybody else eats like us (meat was served), but we always love when there is a lot of fruit at parties, and we eat so much it's easy to forget what's a reasonable portion. So now we have a lot of really great fruit to eat before it goes bad--not exactly an unappealing situation.

The other reason is that our freezer is packed to the walls, mostly with frozen vegetables. Why do we buy frozen vegetables? They always seem like a good idea, but then there's no need for them. We always have a lot of fresh vegetables around for preparing meals (if we don't, we immediately go to the store to get more). We always have canned vegetables when we need something quicker and easier. So what's the function of a frozen vegetable? I don't know. They just take up freezer space, doing nothing. For any purpose, fresh or canned vegetables are preferable.

Note that this does not apply to frozen fruit, which is wonderful. I have fruit smoothies for breakfast two or three days a week with this frozen fruit (thank you, Magic Bullet). Another terrific snack is to mix frozen blueberries and frozen raspberries together in a bowl and let them sit for a few hours; as they melt together their juices get mixed, and you get a deliciously sweet, cool snack. It's also hard to get good, affordable fresh strawberries in the winter, but cheap and good frozen strawberries are always available. Frozen fruit is very, very useful.

But frozen veggies aren't. We realized this and stopped buying them long ago, but the thing about frozen things in your freezer is that there are frozen things in your freezer for a long, long time. So to clear out freezer space, rather than throwing all these bags of veggies away, we'll go ahead and try to eat them. I don't think it will be great, but it won't be so bad, and during a week when I'll be eating fresh cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, fuji apples, green grapes, red grapes, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, I think I'll be having plenty of tasty, fresh, healthy food (this will also help my body recover from the junkfood weekend--such binges require purification), so I'll get by.

I think this is a practical thing to do every so often: go through the cupboards and freezer, find the food that really isn't that appealing to you but has been there a long time, and then find ways to eat it. You clear out space for the food you do like, but you don't waste food and money by throwing it out (if you do it a bunch in a week, it's feels like a cheap week, since you probably spent the money on this food a long time ago).

So it's fresh fruit and frozen vegetable week in our household.

On closer inspection, 3/4 of the frozen veggies are past expiration, which is just as well because we still have a lot of fresh veggies to eat too, of course. So now to make the frozen veggies palatable, I'm mixing them. Frozen lima beans into a fresh salad. Frozen broccoli into marinara sauce on pasta. It looks like fresh fruit and frozen veggie week became, like most weeks, fresh fruit and fresh veggie week. So that's good.

Let me trim all this gibberish down to a simple message, an important message, a message especially for those graduates ready to embark out into the world:

Don't buy frozen vegetables.

Fresh vegetables are better and canned vegetables are easier.

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