When it comes to produce, many are at a crossroads when it comes to buying fruits and vegetables fresh or frozen. Fresh produce obviously seems like the right choice because it is straight from being picked but frozen produce can be extremely economical and lasts much longer, especially since it can be preserved far longer than that of fresh produce. Let’s delve into the health benefits of each form and you can then decide what is best for you and your family. Fresh produce is often thought to be the healthier of the two due to the fact that fruits and vegetables are picked right from the source and then sent off to be sold, offering people the largest amount of nutrients and vitamins needed to nourish their bodies. The truth though, is that most fresh produce is picked before it “peaks” in ripeness so that it doesn’t go bad when shipped and also prevents the fruits and vegetables from being damaged in transit. It also makes the produce more attractive to the buyer. Since the produce is picked early it is more than likely sitting in heat and light, causing many of the vitamins to lessen. If it was picked more near its peak, the produce would be more beneficial for health. If you are able to purchase fruits and vegetables locally and in-season, well that is obviously the choice to go with. Some eliminate the middle man altogether and grow their own produce in-season which is the ideal choice if you’re able to do so.
Frozen produce is picked at its peak of ripeness and frozen just after through a process known as blanching. Blanching simply means the produce is boiled quickly in boiling hot water to make it sterile then frozen. Fruits and vegetables may lose a bit of Vitamin B and C (since they’re water-soluble vitamins) but the majority of vitamins and nutrients are kept intact through this process. When you’re ready to enjoy frozen produce, you can either let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours beforehand or simply steam it. Microwaving has been recommended but there has been some debate if microwaving produce can actually kill more nutrients. Or you can take the frozen produce and pop it in the blender to enjoy in a delicious smoothie the whole family can enjoy – even the little ones will enjoy it. You can also sneak in vegetables like spinach and squash and they won’t even know it! Another bonus to frozen produce is that you can enjoy some of your favorite fruits and vegetables that are out-of-season all year long.
As you can see, both forms of produce have their pros and cons but frozen can be just as beneficial as fresh, if not more so. When purchasing frozen produce, make sure no other ingredients have been added like sugar, salt, or syrup. The best way to enjoy fruits and vegetables is as they are – they have enough flavor of their own so companies should not have to mix in other added ingredients to make it “taste” better!