Packets of frozen vegetables often say "cook from frozen" or "do not defrost" in the cooking instructions. For stir frying at least, many people recommend the opposite, such as in this question. I can understand the logic behind defrosting, but the recommendations don't explain why I should trust them over the packet directions.

Why do packets say "cook from frozen", and if I'm not supposed to follow that instruction, why not? Is it based on a myth? Is there a legitimate problem with cooking thawed vegetables that can actually be circumvented to achieve even better results?

I'm particularly interested in stir-frying mixed vegetables and baking french fries but this can apply to other methods of cooking too.

  • Related/Possible duplicate: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/56115/… – Cindy Apr 20 '17 at 10:16
  • @Cindy wouldn't call it a duplicate, but maybe a clue. So do you think maybe it's to prevent bacteria growth in the period between defrosting and cooking? – Alex Hall Apr 20 '17 at 11:01
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    I would assume that it makes cooking times more standardised as the manufacturer can assume a more consistent starting point. – dbmag9 Apr 20 '17 at 11:14
  • @AlexHall Agree with it not being an exact duplicate. However, both are asking about the "cook from frozen" directions on packages of frozen foods, and I think my answer to the other question would apply here also. The direction to "cook from frozen" is definitely given in the interest of food safety. Many people think it's overkill, but the same applies to other food safety standards. We may not adhere to it in our own kitchen, but it would not be responsible to advise others to disregard it. – Cindy Apr 20 '17 at 11:15
  • Comments aren't for answering questions; please post an answer if you want to answer. (The related/possible duplicate stuff is good though, thanks!) – Cascabel Apr 20 '17 at 14:50

Well, "cook from frozen" comes with instructions on how to cook from frozen, on stovetop or microwave. So their results are probably best for those methods.

Stir frying is a different process, so, unless they have stir-fry specific instructions, you should take the "from frozen" instructions to be specific to the methods and instructions given on the package for preparation, not necessarily an admonition for all types of preparation.

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It is primarily to prevent bacteria growth when thawing.

There are also some vegetables that change texture and consistency when they thaw, because they effectively sit in the water from the ice that melts.

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  • Thanks! So what if I put them in a strainer and rinsed them under warm water to (a) defrost them quickly and (b) not give them time to sit in water? – Alex Hall May 3 '17 at 8:40
  • I'm not sure about that yet. I haven't tried it. – Kenneth M Burling Jr May 4 '17 at 10:29

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