Since Swanson began selling TV dinners in 1954, people have flocked to the freezer aisle for the convenience that frozen foods offer. Most grocery stores have the standard frozen food fare of pizzas, vegetables, chicken nuggets, waffles, and ice cream. But you can also buy an assortment of stranger foods, that happen to be frozen, in the freezer aisle.
1. DOG TREATS
On a hot day, sometimes your furry friend would just like to share your froyo, and New York City-based Yappy Treats Cart saw an open market. They sell all-natural froyo treats for canines, and their sugar-free cups of Greek yogurt have probiotics to help keep dogs healthy. Choosey pups can pick between peanut butter banana carob, pumpkin bliss, and (amazingly) tuna carrot.
High quality, fresh fish is an essential component of good sushi. But if you can’t get fresh sushi, you can try frozen. The Seattle-based company Banzai Sushi sells frozen sushi rolls with rice that stays sticky even after defrosting. Defrosting is simple, if time-consuming—you take the sushi out of the package, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it thaw for two hours at room temperature. A recent Japanese study concluded that previously frozen sushi tastes just as good as fresh sushi. Freezing fish for sushi can actually protect sushi-eaters against parasitic diseases such as anisakiasis.
3. SANDWICHES, SUBS, AND PANINIS
Although frozen bread—waffles, pancakes, and French toast—is fairly common, it’s a bit more unusual to buy entire sandwiches from the freezer aisle. Stouffer’s offers frozen toasted subs such as roast beef and cheddar on Italian bread and Philly-style steak and cheese on sourdough. Stouffer’s also sells frozen paninis, including smoked turkey club and three cheese and ham.
Tons of people heat up frozen breakfast foods in the morning to save time while they get ready for work or school. Besides the typical frozen breakfast fare of breakfast burritos, sausages, or hash browns, you can thaw and then eat an entire omelet. Schwan’s Deluxe Ham & Cheese Omelet has diced ham, cheddar cheese, and Swiss cheese, and each omelet comes individually wrapped.
In 2009, Del Monte Superfruit Smoothies created a frozen hybrid smoothie/lollipop in the shape of James Bond actor Daniel Craig. After over 1000 people voted that Daniel Craig was the celebrity they most wanted to lick—beating out fellow Brits Jude Law, Hugh Grant, and David Beckham—the company hired artists to make a lifelike, shirtless lollipop representation of the actor. The lollipops came in three flavors—pomegranate, blueberry, and cranberry.
Pre-made soup typically comes in cans or refrigerated containers, but you can also buy it frozen. In 2013, Kashi experimented with selling frozen soup filled with vegetables, and Kettle Cuisine sells a variety of frozen soup in flavors such as broccoli cheddar, chicken noodle, chicken tortilla, lobster bisque, minestrone, clam chowder, and tomato bisque.
7. PICKLE JUICE
Bob’s Pickle Pops are popsicles that look just like the usual summer favorites, but instead of fruity flavors, these are made of straight pickle juice. The frozen green pops might not be for everyone—they're salty and vinegary rather than sweet, but for anyone who craves salt over sugar, these dill pops might be a hidden treat.
Oatmeal is healthy and inexpensive, but not everyone can spend 30 to 45 minutes in the morning cooking steel cut oats. Trader Joe’s has solved that problem with frozen steel cut oatmeal, which comes in individual packets and takes just three minutes to heat up. The frozen oatmeal apparently doesn’t taste or look different from fresh oatmeal, and you can always add fresh fruits or spices if the included brown sugar and maple syrup don't do the trick.