Fresh is best! …But frozen has its upsides.
Here are 5 reasons to give the freezer aisle more consideration.
Picked at their peak.
The moment a fruit or vegetable is picked, nutrient development stops— it even begins to lose nutrients. Often times, produce to be sold fresh at the grocery store are picked early so they won’t spoil before being bought off the shelf. This means their nutrient— and flavor— development is cut short. Because most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen shortly after being plucked, they are allowed to fully ripen first; the cold is a natural preservative for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so spoilage isn’t as much of a threat. Picking before they have fully ripened also means fresh fruits and vegetables can undergo artificial ripening processes during transport— not an issue with frozen goods.
No add-ins necessary.
The natural preservation that happens by freezing foods means that there is no need to add artificial preservatives. Of course, there will be exceptions so be diligent with label-reading, even in the frozen section. That being said, you are much more likely to find 1-ingredient items in the frozen section than in the canned section. Buying frozen also means you are dodging the bisphenol A (BPA), a man-made chemical compound that is used in a range of consumer goods, including the inside lining of canned goods.
While fresh fruits and veggies aren’t difficult to clean, cut and prepare, sometimes after a long day, that’s the last thing you want to do. With frozen produce, they have already been clean and cut. All that’s left for you to do is thaw— or not, depending on the recipe— and enjoy. While limited time and energy is a common excuse to skip fresh produce, using frozen foods as a simple time-saving technique that can help get good nutrition to your plate. Frozen is also a great way to eat fruits and vegetables that you aren’t familiar with preparing— how do you get to the good stuff in a pineapple? Where do you start with an artichoke? Frozen produce is a great way to cut out the prep for foods you may not be that familiar with.
Clean slate of flavors.
You can find most fruits and vegetables frozen by themselves, naked, without any sauce or seasoning. This means the possibilities of how to use them are wide open! Flavor them however you want, combine them with any number of seasonings or other ingredients, without worrying that the flavors will clash. This also means frozen fruits and veggies won’t have extra sodium, sugars, or other nutritional pitfalls.
Always in season.
Some people opt to stock up on seasonal produce, when they’re fresh and in season, to freeze for later use. But if you forgot to stock up, your grocer’s freezer serves the same purpose. Fruits such as strawberries are at their very peak in the summertime, but you can find them year-round in the freezer aisle. Spinach and peaches are also highly seasonal foods that are easily freezable.