Q: True or false – frozen fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh ones.

A: False. In fact, unless you live near a farm or shop at farmers’ markets, the opposite is often true. See, the “fresh” produce you buy at your local supermarket or health-food store is usually several days old. That’s because it spends a lot of time in transit after it is harvested, and the time alone that it takes for produce to get from one place to another depletes vital nutrients like vitamin C and folate. And when you add in light and temperature fluctuations, those losses can certainly add up. Frozen fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, are flash-frozen within hours of being picked, locking in a majority of the sensitive nutrients. On top of that, frozen veggies can be more convenient, especially if some of the prep is done for you – as in the case of shelled peas, pureed winter squash, and trimmed artichoke hearts.

Of course, the downside of the freezing process is that it alters the flavor and texture of many produce items. Since nothing beats the delicious flavor of fresh veggies and fruits, you’ll have to experiment with recipes and cooking methods to decide when to use fresh and when to use frozen. For example, I find frozen chopped spinach is a great addition to lasagna, burger, and meatloaf recipes.

Bottom line: Mix it up! Take advantage of fresh seasonal produce and stock up on their frozen counterparts for times when in a rush, you’re out of fresh, or when items aren’t in season, like berries and asparagus in winter months.


Want to know what else to stock in your freezer? Check out my top 10 list.