We often toss spoiled vegetables in the waste bin, because we did not get to using it. For added convenience, many folks turn to frozen vegetables – it’s always available, doesn’t spoil easily, and we can have a greater variety on hand. But for many people the question remains– are fresh veggies better than the frozen?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 8 adults don’t consume enough vegetables. Which leads to a greater risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, since they’re missing out on essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. So, if you need to increase your vegetable intake, then consider stocking up on frozen veggies. Here are a few things to consider:
Although the vegetables in the supermarket might look shiny and fresh, they’re usually not as fresh as you would like to think they are. Most of the time these veggies were picked well before they were truly ripe, and left in cold storage for many months up until such a time that they are needed for the store. By the time you buy them in store, a considerable amount of vitamins have been lost.
But frozen vegetables are picked only when they have reached peak ripeness – which is when they have reached the highest level of nutrient availability. It is true that the blanching step that occurs right before freezing causes some losses in vitamin B and C, however the process of flash-freezing still locks in most of the nutrients (which in any case is likely much more than when they are picked well before being ripe). In fact, a study in 2017 found that there was little difference between fresh and frozen veg, and when a notable difference was detected, it was the frozen veggies which actually had more nutrients!
If you consider the price tag, frozen veg might be better for your budget too. When comparing prices between frozen and fresh vegetables of the same type, you won’t really see much of a difference. But considering that frozen veg lasts longer than the fresh veg, you ultimately save money by not wasting any more vegetables than what you need to use!
Most frozen vegetables are already chopped, or in the case of cauliflower or broccoli, broken up into individual florets. This makes it even easier for you to include it in your weekday meals – no chopping needed! Use it in casseroles, stews, stir-fries, pasta, and soups. You can also sauté frozen veg in some butter together with a sprinkle of celery salt. So, if you one of those people that just can’t help but have a hectic schedule, frozen veg makes more sense!
The overall consensus is that any vegetable is better than no vegetable at all. If you’re avoiding veggies because you can’t get them fresh, and believe that frozen veg are not as good as fresh veg, then you’re actually doing more harm than good!
Obviously, for some recipes, the fresher the better. If you know for sure you’ll be able to use it, then by all means buy it fresh. But if you have a habit of tossing spoiled veggies in the bin every week, then perhaps it’s time to consider frozen veg.