Why Ree Drummond Prefers To Buy Frozen Vegetables

Ree Drummond first catapulted to fame with her wildly popular food blog "The Pioneer Woman," which eventually led to her first television stint on a Food Network show of the same name. Her style of cooking is heavy on cowboy-like flair, featuring comforting and hearty food with a southern air. On her TV show, she is sometimes seen grocery shopping for her family of seven, and one type of item she always picks up on outings is frozen vegetables.

Drummond told USA Today that while frozen veggies can't replace fresh ones in certain dishes, they are "the next best thing to fresh and often much less expensive." For soups, stews, and casseroles, frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh, in her opinion. The chef also claimed that no one can tell a major difference between a fresh vegetable and a frozen one when used in long-cooked recipes. One thing that fans love about Drummond is that she embraces kitchen shortcuts like these and still makes dishes that are regularly rated as sky-high by her audience.

Frozen veggies have some advantages over fresh

Aside from being mighty convenient with shelf lives of a few months or years, as well as less costly per ounce when compared to fresh vegetables, frozen veggies save an enormous amount of prep time. Just think about the time you need to peel and chop onions or prepare whole artichokes to get to the hearts, compared to their ready-to-use frozen counterparts. Ree Drummond often has to feed an army of family, friends, and even ranch hands that visit her home, so it's no wonder why she often reaches for frozen products. 

Frozen vegetables are also harvested at their peak of ripeness, which makes them delicious to eat all year round. CNN even reported that frozen vegetables may actually be more nutritious than fresh, partially due to the fact that they are flash-frozen with nitrogen, which prevents nutrients from being lost as oxygen degrades. Even if some veggies are pre-cooked before packaging and lose some of their nutrients, they are still sold with more than can be found in fresh ones.

Of course, veggies that come straight from a garden are the best you can get, and Drummond also has a flourishing garden. It doesn't bear veggies year-round, due to cold Oklahoma winters, but even if you live in a similar climate, it can be worth it to grow and freeze your own vegetables. You'll have an even more economical bounty of fresh produce to access all year long.

The Pioneer Woman takes on the freezer aisle

Not only does Ree Drummond buy lots of frozen vegetables, but she now sells them, as well. Major stores all over America have stocked Drummond's line of kitchen and home decor items for years now, but one of her more recent ventures is centered on prepared foods — specifically, frozen vegetable dishes. Shoppers can find trays of Drummond's frozen corn casserole, sweet potato and kale casserole, broccoli cauliflower casserole, and green bean casserole in their grocer's freezer aisles, all of which are ready to heat and eat, making them even more low-maintenance than plain frozen veggies.

If you still want to go as au naturale as possible, stick to using frozen veggies in your homemade meals. Many frozen veggies are completely free of preservatives while still lasting a long time, so don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with different kinds — after all, it's not like they're going to go bad if you have trouble using them up in a few days. We all know we can throw some frozen peas and corn into our pot pies, but there's a world of underrated frozen vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, okra, and bell peppers, which can perk up pastas, frittatas, risottos, curries, and more.