With farm markets closed, and fresh produce getting picked over at grocery stores, it can be difficult to find fresh fruit and vegetables right now. But is buying fresh really necessary? In some cases, buying frozen fruits and veggies is actually better.
First of all, fresh produce doesn’t keep long. Since we are trying to limit our trips to the stores, going several times a week to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables isn’t a good idea. There are some choices that will keep fairly well. Potatoes and other root vegetables will stay pretty fresh if kept in a cool dark place. Other fruits and vegetables, like apples, Brussels sprouts, green beans, etc. keep well when refrigerated. Something else to consider when buying fresh is how clean the produce is. The stores do a good job putting out washed produce, but customers like to pick up and examine fruits and veggies before buying. Who knows how many people may have picked up and squeezed that tomato, before setting it back on the pile? So if you do buy fresh, wash that produce, then wash it again!
Fresh fruits and veggies certainly are nutritious, but frozen can be even more nutritious. Why? Well according to the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, frozen actually is better because it is flash-frozen at its peak, while fresh may lose nutrients by the time it makes its way to your cart. Just be careful to check the label on frozen produce to make sure there are no added ingredients.
Of course, in some cases, frozen is not an option. Many fruits aren’t available frozen (and let’s face it, a frozen strawberry cannot compare to biting into a fresh strawberry), and a lettuce or spinach salad must be made fresh. But don’t be afraid of using frozen spinach or kale, as well as onions or peppers in soups, sauces, or mixed with rice, pasta or other vegetables. So while you are stocking up that pantry, stock up your freezer to make sure you always have healthy choices available!