Why I’ll Never Open Another Bag of Frozen Vegetables Without the “U-Rule” Again

published Jun 20, 2024
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Credit: Kelli Foster

If you aren’t shopping in the freezer aisle every week, you’re missing out on some of the best foods the grocery store has to offer. In those chilly cabinets are eye-poppingly delicious dishes and straightforward staples that help us keep cooking all week long. In fact, no grocery run is complete without a restock of my favorite frozen vegetable: broccoli

Frozen vegetables are usually prepped and par-cooked before freezing, which saves me time in the kitchen, and because they are stored at such cold temperatures, they don’t spoil as quickly as fresh vegetables do (a win for combating food waste). Plus, despite what you may have heard, frozen foods are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts.

The best way to get the most from the frozen vegetables is to make sure you store them well. A trick that former editor of The Kitchn, Meghan Splawn, uses to keep bags of marshmallows fresh works just as well for frozen peas and carrots (or any other bagged veg you might have on hand): Stop cutting the bags straight across the top and, instead, use the “U-Rule” to open and later tie the packaging closed.

Credit: Patty Catalano

What’s So Great About the “U-Rule” for Opening Bags of Frozen Veggies?

My freezer was the most chaotic area of the entire kitchen. I’ve tried using chip clips and clothespins to secure bags of frozen hash browns (they snap off when I’m digging through the freezer during the dinner rush). Other times I’ve shoved the bags into freezer zip-top bags, which always seemed like a waste. I’m ashamed to admit that open, half-empty bags of frozen peas haphazardly shoved in the freezer is not an uncommon occurrence. 

Besides the inconvenience of having a shower of loose frozen peas scattered all over, none of these options were all that efficient. They certainly didn’t help prevent freezer burn, either. Which is why I took a cue from Meghan and created my “U-Rule” to open bags of frozen vegetables. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

Simply hold an unopened bag by the top two corners and shake the contents down to the bottom. Use a pair of scissors to make a 1 1/2-inch cut straight down, about a third of the way in from each corner. Then fold this center flap slightly toward you, so you can cut across the part of the bag connecting the straight down cuts. You should have removed a U-shaped piece of the packaging, and the bag should resemble the shape of a plastic grocery bag. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

Shake out the portion of the vegetables needed, then grasp the corners of the packaging again and tie into a knot. Press out as much air as possible, not only to make the bag compact for storage, but also to prevent the dreaded freezer burn. That’s it! Using the “U-Rule” to tie the frozen vegetable bags back on themselves is the best solution I’ve found for freezer storage. 

This article originally published on The Kitchn. See it there: Why I’ll Never Open Another Bag of Frozen Vegetables Without the “U-Rule” Again