The healthiest produce in the grocery store is not in the produce department. It’s not in the canned fruit or vegetable aisle either. It’s in the freezer section. Why eat broccoli and Brussels sprouts if they have no more nutrients left than refined white bread? Fruits and vegetables start to lose nutrients the moment they are picked and continue to lose nutrients as they are shipped around the world, sit in the grocery store shelves and sit on your kitchen counter.
Canned fruits and vegetables usually have sugar or salt added and some include other unnecessary chemicals to preserve freshness or enhance color. Frozen fruit and vegetables have more time on the vine since they are picked at their peak and frozen within hours instead of being picked under ripe so they don’t spoil before you get them home.
An Austrian study found frozen vegetables to be more nutritious than out of season vegetables imported from around the globe. Frozen produce also reduces waste because you only cook the amount you need and the rest can go back in the freezer. If your dinner plans get pushed back a day or two you don’t have to worry about your produce going bad.
Six Tips for the highest quality frozen produce.
1) Read the label and ingredients list. This will tell if there is added sugar or salt, how the produce is cut and help you avoid buying the veggies drenched in those awful butter sauces.
2) Feel the bag and make sure it isn’t full of icy crystals or frozen into a giant lump, these are signs the produce has thawed and refrozen or developed freezer burn losing nutrients in the process.
3) Once the bag is opened make sure to reseal it. If it’s got a re-sealable zipper use that, if not put it in a freezer quality plastic bag to protect your produce from freezer burn and oxidation that can ruin quality and leach nutrients.
4) Buy your frozen goods last at the grocery store. Keep them together in the cart and bag them together at checkout so they keep cold.
5) If you have a long drive home or the weather is hot consider leaving a cooler in your car to keep foods from defrosting.
6) Put your frozen foods away first then anything that has to go in the fridge. Pantry and shelf stable items like flour, bread and canned goods should be put away last.
Save time, money and eat healthier with freezer cooking.