Frequently asked questions.

Here are the answers to some of the questions we hear the most. Don’t see an answer to your question? Ask us using the contact form.


For most vegetables, no. You get a fresher tasting product if it has not been thawed. Exceptions are corn on the cob and leafy greens, which cook more evenly if partially thawed first.

Not necessarily. Meat and fish can be cooked from a frozen state if extra cooking time is allowed. The amount of time will depend on the size and shape of the cut. Large frozen roasts can take as much as 1.5 times longer to cook as unfrozen cuts of the same weight and shape. Small roasts and thin cuts such as steaks and chops require less time.

Heating or scalding the vegetables in boiling water or steaming for a short period of time.

Food safety.

Foods stay frozen longer if the freezer remains unopened, is full, is in a cool place, and is well insulated. Usually food in a loaded freezer will stay frozen for two to four days, depending on its size. A half-filled freezer will keep food frozen only about 24 hours.

Foods can be refrozen if at least one of these two conditions are met:

  1. Foods have only partially thawed and still have ice crystals in the package.
  2. The freezer temperature has remained at 40°F or below. Before using, check to see that color and odor of the food are good. Quality of the food will be lower.

Freezer burn is dehydration or drying that occurs on the surface of a frozen product if it is improperly wrapped. The food is safe to eat but poorer quality. To prevent freezer burn, the package must be free of air and sealed airtight.

Food preservation.

It is best to harvest produce early in the morning or during the coolest time of the day. To preserve quality, it’s also a good idea to freeze or can vegetables as soon as possible after they are picked. If you must hold them, keep them refrigerated.

Use recipes and procedures that were developed in 1994 or later.


Nutrition in schools.

Yes. Lesson materials are from the USDA and are New York State approved. They meet NY State learning standards and can easily be aligned with your curriculum.

Lessons are designed for all age groups and grade levels. We can customize our lessons to fit your classroom needs. Our lessons include:

  • Dig In: Gardening Fruits and Vegetables
  • Just Say Yes to Fruits & Vegetables
  • Re-Think Your Drink
  • Team Nutrition: The Power of Choice
  • Team Nutrition: Physical Activity and Nutrition
  • Choose MyPlate
  • Cooking Matters
  • Grow It. Try it. Like it
  • CATCH: Coordinated Approach To Child Health
  • Serving up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum

To learn more, visit our school resource page at [NEED URL].

ESNY can provide site visits to help start a garden, suggestions to find funding for your garden efforts, and nutrition education to promote garden-based learning. Fill out the contact form to ask for assistance.

With help from ESNY, schools can design their lunchrooms to nudge students toward nutritious foods with low to no cost changes that are as simple as encouraging students to come up with creative names for foods, such as X-ray Carrots or Farm Fresh Veggie Mix.

In addition, ESNY can provide professional development for Food Service staff. Through 10-minute mini workshops once a month, food service staff can earn continuing education credits by learning how to re-design the lunchroom to support healthy eating while maintaining or improving school lunch revenue and operations. Longer staff development sessions are also available.

To learn more, visit our school resource page at [NEED URL].

Community partners.

ESNY provides nutrition education and materials to agencies who serve individuals who are currently receiving SNAP Benefits, or are SNAP eligible. ESNY Western New York Region provides services in the following counties:

  • Alleghany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua
  • Erie
  • Genesee
  • Niagara
  • Orleans
  • Wyoming

You can find nutrition educators doing classes all over WNY, in locations such as schools, after-school programs, senior centers, community centers, libraries, and grocery stores. To find us, check out the events page.

Services are available to schools in which 50% or more students are receiving free and reduced-price lunches. ESNY Western New York Region works with schools in the following counties:

  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua
  • Erie
  • Niagara