Processed Vegetables

It is generally agreed that the quality of frozen and canned vegetables can never equal that of the best-quality fresh product at its peak of maturity, prepared properly, and cooked while still fresh. However, because of the high perishability of fresh produce, seasonal variations in availability and price,and the amount of labor required to handle fresh produce in commercial kitchens, food service relies, to a great extent, on processed vegetables.Therefore,it is important to know how to handle processed foods properly.Your goal should be to make them as close as possible in quality to the best fresh produce.

The quality of processed vegetables varies greatly. For example, frozen cauliflower always lacks the slightly crunchy texture of properly cooked fresh cauliflower. In fact, most frozen vegetables are a bit mushier than fresh because cell walls rupture during freezing. On the other hand, frozen peas are almost universally accepted, not just for their convenience but for their dependably high quality in comparison with the highly perishable fresh product.

In the section of Chapter 7 called "Handling Convenience Foods,"we learned that convenience foods are products that have been partially or completely prepared or processed by the manufacturer. This means you should treat frozen and canned vegetables as though they are partially or fully cooked fresh vegetables, which deserve the same care in handling, heating, seasoning, and presentation.

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