Monday, 23 June 2014

Freezing !

Hello, this is an advert for Tesco, ha ha, only joking, it's a tasting exercise.  Most supermarkets have their own cheapo range, Value, Basics, Savers, Smart Price, or whatever. I happen to shop at Tesco because it's the nearest to me. Anyway, I bought a selection of frozen Value foods a few weeks ago, yesterday I cooked them up into a meal so I can compare frozen veg to fresh, and evaluate the taste/texture of the sausages/grills. All items are around £1 a bag. so for about £6 there is enough for several meals.  
The blurb on the veg bags declare that their products face more test tastes with more British tasters than any other supermarkets, and they don't reach the shelves until they pass. Well they won't mind one more taste test then, from someone who loves the taste of real fresh veg.

According to the bags the veg can be microwaved, or simmered in boiling water on the hob. I don't use either of these methods, all my veg is steamed in a pan on the hob in one of those colander type thingys which fit inside. I suppose I could microwave, it would probably produce the same results, but I would never boil veg.

On opening the bags I noticed that the pieces of cauliflower and broccoli were all different sizes. When I prepare fresh veg I cut all pieces more or less the same size so they all need the same length of time to cook. I don't like over cooked or under cooked veg, so I stab it with a fork to check when it is ready. For this test I tried to pick out pieces of veg the same size.

Results of my test, (my opinions). Broccoli, The stalk was hard and chewy, and the flowers mushy, taste ok but not as delicious as fresh. Cauliflower, texture slightly mushy and watery, taste bland, not much flavour. Sweetcorn and peas, you can't go wrong with these, they freeze well, and in my opinion taste better than canned.

I grilled the Sausage and the burger shaped grill. Cooking instructions on the sausage packet say they should be done in the oven. I don't use my oven full stop. The sausage was a bit too salty, I never add salt to my cooking, it was slightly spicy and the texture was chunky. Not too bad but one is enough due to the saltiness of it. The burger grill was more like a potato cake, less salt than the sausage, a bit spicy, and a pasty texture. On the box it says six servings, but they are quite small, and I could easily eat two with a meal.
   
To summarize, I haven't tried the more expensive similar branded frozen foods so I can't compare to those, but overall I would say that these are acceptable. Saying that I wouldn't want to have to rely on them for most of my meals. I nearly always have peas and sweetcorn in the freezer, because you can add them to anything and they always taste fine. The rest I would buy them occasionally and use them as a standby, once a week, or every two weeks. To make these more palatable I suppose some kind of gravy or sauce could be poured over them, but I try and keep that to a minimum. Naked veg is best.

I will always go for fresh veg first, but only if it's the right price, and that means buying local and seasonal. I steer clear of fancy veg that has been shipped halfway across the world, except if it has a yellow sticker on it and has 90% off  :o))  I will buy veg from our near European neighbours, if there is no British to be had.

That's all for now, thank you for popping in. Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

20 comments:

  1. I really only like fresh veg. I do have some frozen though. I like frozen peas (they have to be BE - get my drift? I can't stand any other). I also very occasionally have frozen cauliflower for curries. The advice from the government is that frozen is as good as fresh and advises that the elderly have some on hand for convenience. I now only buy reduced fresh with yellow stickers as prices are ridiculous. If I can't eat everything up, I part-cook it and bung in the freezer. When I was in school in the seventies, there used to be loads of books on freezing but these seem to have fallen by the way-side now which is a pity as sometimes I want to know how best to freeze stuff. Natalie

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    1. I will make a curry with frozen veg, thanks for the tip.

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  2. Certainly frozen is better than "canned", but fresh is the best.... looks terribly yummy! Fresh vegetables abound in Texas, as well as such wonderful fruits as peaches in season and watermelon. Usually for freezing, it's just a quick blanch in boiling water, then cold water and straight into the bags for the freezer. Also important to press out the air in the bags. Good post!

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  3. Frozen Peas and sweetcorn = YES. Frozen Broccoli and Cauliflower = a great big squishy NO!
    We eat the veg grill things in a home made burger bap with some lettuce and a good dollop of home made sweetcorn relish. Very acceptable.

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  4. Frozen veg is great in curries, soups, stews, omelets, quiches, etc., but not so good on their own. I use them often because they are so economical.

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  5. You're right that peas and sweetcorn are best, I agree with GK about the others! Made my own veggie burgers yesterday: cooked red and puy lentils together, mixed with some chopped parsley from the garden, fried an onion, chopped very finely and added some curry powder, salt and pepper, mixed all together with a beaten egg and a couple of left over crusts (blitzed to breadcrumbs) and a grated carrot. Form into flat cakes and shallow fry or open freeze and then pack. Reckon it made enough for three meals for the two of us as main protein item for just over a pound - tasted great too!

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    1. Some good ideas for veggie burgers, thank you.

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  6. I must admit to preferring fresh veg but I always have peas, sweet corn and sliced peppers for back up. The sliced peppers get sprinkled on pizzas or thrown into a chilli, once cooked through I don't really notice the difference. I bought some frozen leeks recently and these were not that good, a bit rubbery and chewy. Need to think of a way of filtering them out haha. Debbie

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  7. Hiya not food related but just wondered as you live with minimal heating in cold months how do you keep damp problems away? Were having problems in our kitchen and there is no heating in there. Thanks.

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    1. Hello Dawn. My house was built 60+ years ago, it's a semi, brick and tile with a cavity wall, which has insulation in the walls and loft. I don't get any damp, even in winter. I think the key is to have a steady flow of air through the house. Not sure on the science of hot air inside against the cold exterior of the house, but I think when the two meet that's when condensation happens. Think of boiling a kettle next to a cold glass mirror or window, or a steamy bathroom, you can see the droplets of water forming. I think it's best to prevent this from happening by having a flow of air through the house, and that means opening doors and windows.

      I keep my cooking to a minimum, don't have an extractor fan, so if I have something boiling on the hob I open a window. I see you have a family so you will do more cooking than me. Try not to let a pan steam away for too long, and open a window when you have the oven or the washer on. It's natural to want to keep the heat in, but a house has to breath.

      My back door is open most of the time while I am here, even in winter. I put extra clothes on, and keep moving about. I see you have little ones that need to keep warm so wrap them up and get them jumping about with some games.

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    2. Thanks for your reply llona, its a mid terrace 100yr old and lots of washing and cooking goes on here lol. Windows are open all summer and bathroom window open in winter when had showers. We have loft insulation but can't have cavity wall as no cavity x

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    3. Hi Dawn. Difficult to control damp when you have a busy household. There will always be complaints if you open doors and windows. Have you tried a dehumidifier, that might help in removing some of the moisture in the air. I don't think they cost much to run. Not sure what else to suggest. You could ask on Money Saving Expert forum, there will be lots of people on there with the same problem.

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  8. In the US most frozen vegetables are picked and frozen the same day and thus retain more vitamins than the fresh vegetables found in the grocery stores. Even though the vegetables are "fresh" they have often been harvested up to 10 days before you buy them, thanks to refrigeration and packaging. If you are lucky enough to buy fresh vegetables from a farmer's market then those are the best.

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  9. The only frozen veg I buy is peas. We much prefer fresh veg too!

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  10. I do prefer fresh veg, but we always have some peas and sweetcorn in the freezer. We have some of the others you mention too but these tend to get used in things, ie the Cauli and broccoli in Cauliflower Cheese. I chuck all types of veg, both fresh and fozen in a curry, with some chicken added in Lovely Hubby's portion.

    This was very interesting to read as it's always nice to do taste comparison tests every now and then, how else would we know if something cheaper has improved on what we normally eat.

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  11. I agree with you in the fact that corn and peas are the only frozen that I use. Have you ever tried frozen green beans? Like eating rubber! I am really enjoying the farmers market this time of year and am anxiously waiting for the tomatoes! Nothing like a fried egg and tomato sandwich in the summer of course a BLT is even better!

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  12. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/06/30/140630fa_fact_sedaris

    Ilona, I thought of you when I read this piece by David Sedaris. He lives in Sussex and takes very long walks while picking up trash.

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  13. It's interesting how you can re-educate your pallet. We never eat processed food, or add salt to anything, so like you, I often try something and think WOW too much salt.

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  14. Hi I tried Sansbury's broad beans the other week, very nice. I usually eat fresh veg.

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  15. i think we should have a little shop of horrors post for the worst basics and economy supermarket lines, the one that sticks in my mind was Asda value frozen mince , a food product like no other . I think they make it from recycled employees , i still shudder at the thought

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