I love Spring because it means that the fresh produce in my CSA box is going to be more colorful and varied. It's not that I don't love potatoes, beets, and turnips, I just miss seeing green amidst all those hearty root veggies. Regardless of the season, I tend to stick to fresh produce when I eat veggies. I also live in California, which means that I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to what kind of produce I have access to all year round.
In the morning I always make a breakfast smoothie using fresh produce. But sometimes our household goes a little overboard in the amount of produce we buy. Instead of throwing out spoiled fruits and veggies, we freeze our produce to preserve its nutritional content and halt the ripening process. Freezing produce is also a good way to stock up on fruits and veggies that are on sale or going out of season.
If there's an abundant amount of produce in our house, we estimate how much we'll need to last the rest of the week and then freeze the rest. Produce is best frozen when it's perfectly ripe, and it can last in the freezer for up to a year.
To find out how to freeze produce at home, read more
Summertime offers an abundance of fresh veggies at lower costs, but now that Winter is on the horizon, the produce aisle isn't exactly overflowing with inexpensive produce. Since your choices are limited (and pricey), opting for canned or frozen veggies may be your only choice, but which is healthier?
Learn which comes out on top in canned veggies vs. frozen veggies when you read more
What's the deal with frozen green beans? Last Fall, a New Zealander discovered a shrunken mouse's head in hers, and, proving we're just as prone to the situation stateside, a Texas woman reportedly opened a bag to find a frog's face staring back at her.
Chasity Erbaugh from Tyler, TX, went to stir butter into her green beans and encountered the whole front end of a frog, spinal cord attached, with its tongue hanging out. Horrified, she notified county health inspectors, who got in touch with the Wal-Mart where she purchased the beans to have the rest of the lot pulled from shelves. Although the county health department filed a complaint with the FDA, it also urged consumers to look closely at their food before eating it. But Erbaugh has lost her confidence with frozen foods. Moving forward, she vows to only buy fresh vegetables, even if the measure is at her expense. "Do you know how much my grocery bill is fixing to go up?" she said.
After hearing about a shopper who — almost literally — got a frog in her throat, are you less likely to buy frozen fruits and vegetables? Do you agree with the health department, which insinuated that the responsibility lies with each diner to ensure he is eating safe food? Have you ever found something that's less than kosher in your frozen produce?
The canned spinach that made Popeye's muscles go crazy was probably loaded with sodium and ultimately not the best method for eating this super green, leafy veggie.
On the other hand, frozen spinach might just be more nutritious than fresh. The nutritional benefits of spinach start to breakdown after the leafy green is picked. In fact, four days in your crisper can reduce the amount of beneficial nutrients health-boosting carotenoids and the folate (a B vitamin) in spinach. Yep, even if you refrigerate this veggie, it can still lose its nutritional value. For this reason it is a great idea to use frozen spinach. It is generally processed immediately after being picked, locking in the nutrients. This is a great option if fresh spinach is scarce or really expensive. Check out this recipe for Tomatoes Stuffed With Spinach and Ham, which conveniently uses frozen spinach!
Fit's Tip: Remember, it is recommend that you eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily — fresh or frozen. So if the fresh produce at the grocery looks old and depleted, experiment with using frozen veggies or fruit. Frozen fruit is a great addition to any smoothie.
Is there a frozen veggie or fruit that you use regularly? Share the details in the comment section below.
Short quiz on nutrition myths.