Garden Bounty from JeffreyW
We’ve had this discussion before, but as the summer growing season comes to an end and we’re faced in many regions with the long winter dilemma of fresh vs. frozen from the grocers, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the debate. I thought this article from ABC News summed it up pretty nicely. And it confirms what I had been told over the years:
The differences above may be why frozen produce has been shown to be just as nutrient-rich, or even superior to fresh, a fact supported by two new independent studies. Scientists from Leatherhead Food Research and University of Chester, carried out 40 tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in a fridge for three days, compared to frozen equivalents. They found more beneficial nutrients overall in the frozen samples, in everything from broccoli to blueberries. In fact, in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and veggies packed higher levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein, and beta-carotene. This conclusion supports previous research, which found that freezing produce does not destroy its nutrients. In one report, the vitamin C content in fresh broccoli plummet by more than 50% with a week, but dipped by just 10% over an entire year when frozen.
The minute a fruit or veggie is picked, it begins to lose nutrients, so exactly when it’s plucked, and how long after harvesting you eat it impacts its nutritional value. Because most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen shortly after they’re harvested, they’re allowed to fully ripen, which means they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and freezing “locks in” many of their nutrients. On the flip side, much of the fresh produce in your supermarket was reaped over 1,500 miles away, and had to travel by truck to get there. As a result, it may have been harvested before it reached its nutritional peak, then artificially ripened during transport.
Because freezing preserves food, no unwanted additives are needed in bags of frozen goodies, like spinach and strawberries. In addition, “naked” produce (e.g. no added salt or sugar) is the norm, so it’s incredibly easy to find fruits and veggies with single word ingredient lists–simply the fruit or veggie itself. To be sure, always check the ingredients, but I bet you’ll find at least a dozen varieties in the freezer aisle with absolutely nothing added.
And I think this is my favorite reason they’re better – less prep. I almost always choose frozen fruits for my smoothies because, hey, no washing, peeling or slicing, just open the freezer bag and toss a handful in:
I frequently visit my local farmers markets, and I’m a huge fan of fresh, in-season produce. But to be honest, after a long day, I sometimes look at my bounty, sigh, and think, “Ugh, I wish it would magically prep itself.” One of my favorite things about keeping frozen options on hand is that they don’t require any washing, peeling, or chopping. And for many of my clients, that benefit is the sole reason veggies wind up on their plates. One study found that working women spend, on average, less than one hour a day preparing, serving, eating, and cleaning up after meals. That’s not under an hour for each meal – it’s less than one hour for all daily meals! Because frozen produce is prep-free, reaching for it can save you a ton of time, allowing you to make healthy dishes at home, rather than opting for takeout.
There’s more at the link if you’re interested: ABCNews.com