9 frozen foods that you might not even have realised existed

unusual frozen foods

Frozen foods get a bit of a bad name. If you’re my age – the Findus Crispy Pancake generation – you’d be forgiven for associating frozen foods with that cheap and cheerful kind of tea – fish fingers, chicken nuggets, that sort of thing.

Frozen foods have come a long way though since the ‘minced beef’ pancake of the 1980s and there are a lot of benefits to choosing frozen foods. Keeping a well stocked freezer saves you money, time and waste, and there are actually nutritional benefits too. You might not have thought about it, but the fact that food is frozen means they don’t need added preservatives, and so there are often fewer extra ingredients.

Take frozen mashed potato for instance. (Who knew that was a thing?) I picked a variety and looked at the ingredients – potato, butter, milk, salt and pepper. That’s it. Just like you would make at home.

Cool Cookery is on a mission to get people more excited about using frozen foods, so to inspire you, here are nine foods that a lot of people don’t even realise you can buy frozen and some tips on how to use them:

Frozen mashed potatoes

Yep, actual frozen mashed potatoes. Use them with sausages and baked beans for a classic family tea, or how about topping a shepherd’s pie? Frozen Quorn mince makes a very tasty vegetarian shepherd’s pie and is a good alternative if you’re keen to reduce the amount of meat in your diet.

Frozen grilled aubergine slices

I hardly ever buy aubergine because if I am totally honest, I find it a little bit scary and am not sure what to do with it. You can use frozen grilled aubergines straight in your recipe from frozen, so they’d be perfect for something like this aubergine, tomato and parmesan bake – you could skip the aubergine frying step completely and add the frozen aubergine straight to the dish.

Frozen dark cherries

I absolutely love cherries, but they are so expensive and not always readily available. I tried frozen cherries for the first time lately and they were absolutely delicious. I used them in a baked oat breakfast recipe, (which will be on the Cool Cookery website soon), and they worked brilliantly. They’d be great in breakfast smoothies too.

frozen dark cherries

Frozen herbs

Frozen herbs are a great example of how using frozen foods can reduce food waste. Whenever I cook with fresh herbs, I end up using a handful of something and leaving the rest in the fridge to go bad. With frozen herbs, you just use exactly what you need and keep the rest for next time. You don’t loose any of the flavour either. Try a lunch of herby risotto and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of herb.

Frozen ginger

Ginger is a very versatile ingredient and has myriad amazing health properties too, so adding a bit of ginger to a breakfast smoothie, soup or sauce is always going to be a good thing. It’s great for reducing nausea and may help to lower cholesterol, reduce muscle pain and protect against things like Alzheimer’s and heart disease. How about a lunch of pacific cod with lime, chilli and ginger? Chilli and fish are both readily available frozen, so this could make a great freezer standby.

Frozen edamame beans

These are so simple to eat, and make a very yummy snack. (Although the first time I had edamame beans I did eat the cases too. Not so nice.) They are low in calories, contains no cholesterol and are a great source of protein, iron, and calcium. Serve them in a tiny dish, covered in sea salt, sit in a bar stool and get a family member to slide them along in front of you, like they’re on a conveyor belt. Tada! You’re in Yo Sushi!

frozen edamame beans

Frozen sweet potato fries

No freezer is complete without some frozen chips, but how about switching things up a bit and swapping your regular chips for sweet potato fries? Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes count as one of your five a day, and there’s a whole load of other good stuff in them too. One large sweet potato for example contains more than 70% of our recommended intake of vitamin C. Take that scurvy.

Frozen mussels

Mussels are another one of those things that I don’t normally buy, but buying them frozen makes them much easier to use as you can just chuck handfuls of them into things like this Mediterranean-style fish stew. I love the flavour of mussels and randomly, they are something that both Bee and Belle liked to eat as babies!

Frozen whole cooked lobster

I wouldn’t have a clue to do with a fresh lobster, but this is pretty impressive isn’t it?

Do you have any favourite frozen foods? What tips do you have for using frozen food?

unusual frozen foods

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18 Comments

  1. Zoey Harris
    Twitter:
    2 March, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    Just buy fresh herbs, ginger and chillies and freeze! Chop and grate when needed!

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2017 / 10:10 am

      That’s a whole other post – cool stuff you can freeze yourself! We made some really good frozen bananas lollies the other day. Freezing bananas is brilliant.

  2. 2 March, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    This is fascinating – I didn’t know about many of these. I’ll be looking out for the sweet potato fries! x

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2017 / 10:10 am

      Yeah, they were very popular here!

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2017 / 10:09 am

      The frozen cherries were really good, plus I ate them straight from the freezer and they were yummy like that too.

  3. Theresa Cooke
    Twitter:
    2 March, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Where can I get the Cherries?
    I bought frozen shallots last week. Hate peeling little onions.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2017 / 10:09 am

      I saw those when I was doing my research – I’ll definitely be getting some!

  4. 3 March, 2017 / 11:00 am

    My mum adds frozen mashed potato to soup to thicken it – much nicer than cornflour. My guilty secret is frozen, pre-chopped onions – hate chopping onions with a passion.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2017 / 11:46 am

      What a clever idea! That’s such a good tip 🙂

  5. Juliet
    Twitter:
    4 March, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Frozen aubergine and frozen cherries sound great! Possibly not together!!
    Where could I buy both or either of these
    . Supermarket or specialist deli / farms hope. Thank you.

    • Jo Middleton
      6 March, 2017 / 10:45 am

      I got both of those via Ocado – I think they were both Waitrose brands rather than Ocado though, so you could probably get them in store too. It’s definitely worth having a look around in the different supermarkets as they do all sorts of things you wouldn’t have known about!

  6. 5 March, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    I’m all about the frozen butternut squash – prepping it from fresh is so long winded!! I’ll have to look out for frozen Edamame, I love them but can never find them where I live!

    • Jo Middleton
      6 March, 2017 / 10:40 am

      I got my frozen edamame through Ocado if that’s any good?

  7. Scantily Dad
    Twitter:
    6 March, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    I love your blog Jo!

    Being a father of twins has made the freezer my best friend. I recently just discovered frozen sweet potato fries. What a revelation.

    Another one that I freeze myself is bananas. They are great for making smoothies even creamier.

    Keep up the outstanding work.

  8. 6 March, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    I absolutely love frozen herbs and veg. I am not always a big fan of frozen mean, although I don’t know why – might be a psychological thing worrying that it hasn’t thawed properly!

    Garlic, ginger, chilli, sprouts, sweet potato, cauliflower! You name it – I’m having it!

  9. Kate
    15 March, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Frozen mince is ideal for throwing into slow cookers. Can’t go wrong as it will defrost quickly whatever you do.

    Frozen mash is handy for quick meals.

    I also like stuff like frozen garlic, chopped onions etc. When I broke my arm, they were soooo handy. because chopping was a challenge.

    I’ve yet to try frozen avocado. Sounds fab idea to stop the waste but it might be too mushy.

    • Jo Middleton
      16 March, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Yeah, frozen avocado sounds a little odd – I wonder how it would defrost? It might work well for things like smoothies?

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