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Is Frozen the New Fresh?

foodmysteries-13

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, many people would argue that fresh is best. If you are a member of this school of thought, take a seat before reading any further. The truth is, frozen and canned produce can be just as nutritious as fresh produce. How is this possible, you ask? Well, it’s because frozen and canned produce is picked at the peak of ripeness when nutrient levels are highest. This means that you can enjoy all the goodness of nutrient rich produce all year round. Seal in the best of summer this year by freezing or canning all that delicious local produce from the farmer’s market so you can enjoy it all year.

Here are some reasons to celebrate!

  1. Convenience: Frozen and canned produce is usually peeled, pitted, and sliced, which means a lot of the work involved with cooking has already been done for you!
  2. Cost effective: Fresh fruit can be more expensive when it is sold outside of the local growing season.
  3. Year-round supply: Sometimes, transporting fresh produce to remote living areas can be difficult, so canned and frozen produce are a practical way for people to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables all year round.

Now, I realize that the skeptic in you may be wondering whether frozen or canned produce is higher in sugar and salt. The answer is – not always. With today’s demand on healthy living, you can just as easily find frozen and canned produce without any added sugar and salt. Specifically, look for no-salt-added canned vegetables, fruit canned in its own juices instead of sugar syrup, and plain frozen fruits and vegetables. If you want to be extra careful, try rinsing your canned produce to remove additional sugar or salt before eating.

Jump start your way to having more fruits and vegetables!

Now that you know fresh, frozen, and canned produce can be nutritionally the same, there’s no hiding behind the excuse of “it’s too hard to enough fruits and veggies.” Sneak more produce in your diet with the following tips:

Toss a handful of frozen berries into fresh yogurt or hot cereal in the morning

  • Blend milk, yogurt, and frozen fruit together for a yummy smoothie treat
  • Build a tasty fruit salad with canned fruit mixed with some fresh seasonal fruit
  • Liven up your favorite soup, stew, or pasta sauce with a splash of color from canned or frozen vegetables
  • Power up your comfort foods by adding antioxidant-rich vegetables like frozen broccoli and cauliflower to macaroni and cheese
  • Tantalize your taste buds by adding fresh basil and ricotta cheese to canned tomatoes for a quick and easy pasta sauce