Can I substitute frozen brussels sprouts for fresh?

As always, pre-emptive thanks for all who teach me (a 41-year-old adult) basic cooking things I should already know. Anyway, I’m researching brussels sprouts recipes, and am wondering if I can substitute frozen for fresh. I’m looking at recipes that call for roasting them and sauteeing them, especially.

Probably not, at least not without tweaking the recipe.

In general, frozen vegetables are already cooked, and have a much higher moisture content than fresh. So recipes made for use with fresh vegetables don’t translate well to frozen, and vice-versa.

Roasting them especially will be difficult. Roasting is a dry heat - the water content in the frozen sprouts will, at the very least, require longer cooking time.

Sauteing will be easier, as the water content isn’t quite as important, but they may be mushy.

Here’s a thread with people talking about using frozen brussels sprouts. Some people seem to have had good luck with them. Maybe worth a try! Just don’t expect the recipes for the fresh ones to translate exactly.

Oh, and if you DO decide to buy some fresh ones, I can highly recommend this recipe. Had it last night and it’s divine! I used 1/2 cup raisins instead of the figs, and it was very good. I’m sure it’d be even better with figs, but I didn’t have any on hand.

It matters which frozen brussels sprouts you buy. You want IQF, or individually quick frozen, ones. The brussels sprouts should not be in one big clump in the bag, when they are frozen.

We’ve sauteed some of the frozen “steam in bag” brussels sprouts, and had them turn out good (though not as good as fresh). We microwaved them in the bag for less than the time needed to fully cook them to defrost them (I think we microwaved them for maybe two minutes), then sauteed them.

Bwaa?? Some frozen vegetables are blanched in boiling water, but that is not the same as cooking.

It’s not? What else do you other than blanch to cook, say, green beans, or cauliflower, or broccoli? To me, that’s “cooked.” You just need to heat them up and eat them. You can do fancier things, but it’s not necessary.

Rats. I meant to post this in Cafe Society. That’s what I get for posting-while-hungry (PWH). Can a mod move this?

It’s not necessary to blanche vegetables to eat them either. Some people prefer vegetables with more cooking than blanching entails though. The difference between blanching and cooking is a matter of degree; frozen vegetables are considerable closer to raw than canned vegetables.

Blanching before freezing is not done to cook the veggies, though. It’s there to to stop enzymatic action which leads to color change, flavor change, etc. I would not consider most frozen vegetables to be cooked.

I guess it’s just a matter of taste; to me, frozen vegetables are, on the whole, overcooked for my taste. Mushy and waterlogged. If I’m cooking fresh vegetables, I like there to be a snap to them, and you simply can’t get that with frozen. So yeah, to me, they’re “cooked.”

I think you are detecting the effect of freezing rather than cooking.

I would have to agree with Athena that some frozen vegetables (particularly the “California combo” of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower) are overcooked by default out of the bag. Regardless of the cause, any further cooking of these vegetables after defrosting just turns them to mush.

I think we’re just arguing semantics here; frozen vegetables are certainly “cooked” in the sense that they’re washed, cut up, and require nothing but a little heating to be ready to eat. They do not require additional prep work or long heating times. If you want to argue that “cooked” involves something other than that, well, it’s a matter of taste - maybe you like your veggies a bit softer or whatever, but the blanching/freezing process results in vegetables that in no way, shape, or form could be referred to as “raw.”

Moved from **General Questions **to Cafe Society, since that’s where the foodies hang out.

I never said they could. But they are not ‘cooked’ either.

So what’s your definition of “cooked”, exactly?

I’m not Fear Itself, but I’d define cooking as chemical change wrought on food through the application of heat, excluding burning-to-a-crisp. To me, freezing definitely causes textural changes, but it doesn’t render the food cooked per se. I also wouldn’t call marinating fish in highly acidic lime juice to make ceviche ‘cooking’ it, even though you certainly change the texture and appearance of the fish.

I’m going to slightly backtrack on what I said before. As I said, most commercial vegetables are blanched before they are frozen. Blanching is done, as said before, to stop enzymatic action that changes the color, flavor, and nutritional value of your food. However, this does involve a brief dunk (30 seconds to maybe 2 minutes) into boiling water. The dunk is short enough that the vegetables remain crisp, but inevitably some amount of cooking must have happened there. For me, this is a separate category called “blanched,” which is distinct from “cooked,” but I’d be hard pressed to argue that some cooking did not occur in that brief dunk in the water.

Now, I don’t know if all vegetables are blanched before frozen, but I suspect almost all are, for quality reasons.

Like I said… semantics.

To me, “cooked” is a catch-all phrase that more or less means “not raw.” If you want to get more specific than “cooked” then you get into specifics of how something was cooked - sauteed, roasted, braised, and (of course) blanched.

For my tastes, most vegetables need nothing more than a quick blanch to be cooked.

Ceviche is an odd thing, definitely, as “cooked” mostly refers to the heating method used to prepare food. But lots of people refer to fish marinated in lime as “cooked.” But yeah, it’s a weird one.

I think pickling would also be an odd one, too. I don’t think of pickled cucumbers or other vegetables as being cooked, but quite often (at least the way I make them), a hot brine is poured over them when they’re jarred and allowed to ferment (my preferred style of pickle.) Somehow, their structural integrity remains and they end up crisp anyway. I think of blanching in the same way, especially when it’s not done for the purpose of cooking through, because it’s only very slightly up from raw on the continuum of raw-to-fully-cooked-through.

So, yeah, semantics, shmemantics.

Well, if it makes any difference, in the case of Brussels Sprouts, I’m pretty sure that the classical French treatment and cooking of fresh Brussels sprouts almost always involves a blanching, no matter the final preparation, i.e. roasting, sauteeing, etc. I think the theory is that it’s such a dense and strongly flavored vegetable that the blanching helps to tenderize, fix the color, and sweeten/leach the bitterness.