While frozen foods often get a bad rap, head down the freezer aisle and you’re bound to find some of the most nutritionally dense foods in your supermarket. Here are seven reasons why stocking up on frozen fruits and veggies is a good idea!
7 Reasons to Shop for Frozen Produce Over Fresh
- They have peak flavor. When fruits and vegetables are grown for freezing, they are harvested at their peak ripeness. Envision a ruby red raspberry so ripe it’s practically falling off the bush, a perfectly ripe carrot plucked from the warm soil, or plump green peas bursting with summertime flavor. These are most often the fruits and vegetables selected for freezing.
- They are just as nutritious – and often more nutritious– than their fresh counterparts. Within hours of being harvested, the perfectly ripe fruits and veggies are quickly flash frozen to essentially “lock in” their nutritional value. Compared to their fresh counterparts that are left to sit on delivery trucks, grocery store shelves, or your kitchen countertop, frozen produce keeps its cool (pun intended) and nutritional value while hanging out in the freezer. Recent studies, such as this one published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, confirmed that the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables are generally equal to – and in some cases better than – their fresh counterparts.
- They’re free of added sugar or additives. Flash freezing requires only a slight mist of water followed by a strong blast of cold air. Check out the ingredients list on your bag of frozen produce, and you’ll likely find only one ingredient listed: the produce item itself. Since freezing is nature’s way of hitting the pause button, there’s no additional need for preservatives.
- They help to reduce food waste. According to a study from the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans toss out nearly a pound of food per person per day! We’ve all probably fallen victim to “grocery store or farmer’s market goggles” when the idea of stocking up on all the produce sounds brilliant at the time – only to have most of them slowly degrade in your fridge or fruit bowl. When you opt for frozen produce, you decide when you’re ready to eat it, not the other way around.
- They’re convenient. As simple as the task may sound, whether it be chopping up kale or trimming the end of green beans, you can save some time by using frozen produce. Having the ability to simply open a bag of frozen fruits and veggies is a nice added perk that can save you the extra minutes and effort in recipe prepping.
- They’re versatile. While fresh produce is preferred for garnishing a cake or serving in a fruit salad, frozen produce is ideal for blending in smoothies, sautéing in stir-fries, and leveling up a simmering pot of soup. The possibilities for utilizing frozen fruits and veggies are endless.
- They’re affordable. A 10-ounce bag of frozen raspberries or strawberries is often 50 cents to a dollar less expensive than a pint of the fresh version. A 16-ounce bag of green beans is about 50 cents to a dollar less costly than 12-ounces of the fresh version. You get the idea!
Put your frozen produce to good use with these recipes below:
What are your favorite ways to use frozen fruits and veggies? Let us know!
McKenzie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, nutrition writer and communicator, who truly loves meeting and connecting with people. Grounded in science with an integrative and holistic approach, she aims to make the world a healthier, happier place by helping people feel their best from the inside out and encouraging others to restore a judgment-free relationship with food. McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publicationEnvironmental Nutrition and her numerous articles, nutrition tips, and recipes can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine, and more.
McKenzie graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Bastyr University in Seattle. She is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a member of the dietetic practice group, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. When she’s not dishing out nutrition tidbits, you can find McKenzie cooking in her sunny kitchen, hiking along with her favorite Southern California trails, or packing her bags and heading out for her next adventure.