Frozen vegetables: while fresh is arguably more fun, you can't deny the connivence and budget-friendliness of the humble bag or two of freezer veggies. But what is the best way to go about defrosting frozen vegetables you purchase?

vegetable, frozen peas, herb, wasabi, broccoli, pea
Katherine Baker

Defrosting frozen vegetables done wrong can lead to rubbery, mushy, or slimly sprouts, but done right, defrosting frozen vegetables have the potential to create side dishes and entrees that boast flavor and texture similar to fresh.

Turns out, the best way to go about defrosting frozen vegetables is to not defrost them at all. Simply skip the thawing process and go straight to the cook step.

Method 1: Roast

vegetable, lettuce, pasture, salad
Katherine Baker

A good way to enhance your frozen vegetable's sensory appeal is to roast them.

Just take your vegetables frozen (no thawing required).

Method 2: Add to Soups, Stews and Casseroles 

vegetable, tomato, legume, chili, sauce, meat, pepper
Katherine Baker

Frozen veggies are perfect for soups, stews, and casseroles, and because they're pre-chopped, can help reduce prep-time. 

Because frozen vegetables are often blanched before freezing, you can just add them frozen to your stir-fry, soup, or bake, and cook as you normally would, until the vegetables are tender. 

Method 3: Add to Smoothies

cucumber, vegetable, pickle
Jasmine Tang

If you're into drinking your greens, frozen vegetables may be your new budget-friendly BFF.

No defrosting needed—just break off a chunk of frozen spinach or kale, blend, and go. 

Method 4: Smash 'Em Good

milk, cream, dairy product, mashed potatoes, butter, dairy
Caitlin Shoemaker

A nice way to discuss any quality issues with your cooked frozen vegetables is to mash them after cooking.

It's a good way to disguise any sub-par textures that make arise from the thaw/cook process. This works great for squash, cauliflower, carrots, and more.  

Method 5: Microwave Or Steam (At Your Own Risk)

herb, vegetable, kale, spinach, tea
Katherine Baker

Microwaving and steaming frozen veggies can be a bit temperamental; adding a tablespoon or two of water can help the process. 

Microwave with a plate covering your bowl, and nuke in slow increments, and check up on your babies often. 

And season post-cooking; salt can bring out even more water.

Things to Avoid:

vegetable, broccoli, cabbage, herb
Katherine Baker

Frozen vegetables will rapidly release their water contents, so keep this in mind when preparing them. 

Boiling frozen vegetables may make them mushy and watery, and adding them to soups and stews will add a bit of liquid to the final product, so you can hold back on liquid from other sources.

popcorn, cauliflower, kettle corn, sweet, goody
Kristine Mahan

Thawing at room temp and/or seasoning before cooking can also lead to undesirable textures, so avoid these easy mistakes.

Frozen vegetables are an easy and cheap way to bump up your produce intake in a pinch. With a few simple hacks, you're just minutes away from a #nearlyfresh vegetable experience. Happy vegg-ing!