Vegetables, Fresh or Frozen?

Fresh vs. Frozen

As we get into spring and summer, we know a bounty of scrumptious and nutritious fresh vegetables and fruits will soon be available to tantalize our taste buds. Many times I get asked “which is better, fresh or frozen”? That’s not a simple question.

Many variables affect the nutritional values in a vegetable or fruit. For example, how mature was the plant when harvested, what type of environmental stress was it grown under, how rich was the soil, what chemicals was it exposed to, how much water did it receive? All of these are factors that influence the nutritional value of a plant. Another set of factors that you must consider, how long has it been from harvest to your plate, was it refrigerated or not? The longer a fresh vegetable or fruits goes before consumption the more nutrients are lost. In fact, the USDA says that vegetables and fruits can lose up to half of their nutritional value in only two days of room temperature storage. These facts are very important, however, in most cases impossible for you to know.

So how do you decide between fresh and frozen? With these facts to consider, lets take a logical look at this question. If we know that the longer a vegetable or fruit sits, the more nutritional value is lost; we should focus on local fresh veggies and fruits. Local means they have been in storage the shortest amount of time from harvest, in most cases. Look for grocers that advertise produce from local growers. Organic veggies and fruits may have a slightly higher nutritional content. The studies are not conclusive but do indicate that trend. One thing for sure is you limit your exposure to harmful chemicals when buying organic.

If the produce you are seeking is out of season or not from local growers, buy frozen. Many stores now identify produce that is from local farms. Frozen veggies and fruits are cleaned, prepared and quickly frozen after harvest locking in the nutritional values that nature provided. However avoid those in a sauce or syrup. Read the ingredient label and make sure it contains just the vegetables or fruit and maybe a little salt.

Both are great choices! Choose fresh if it’s locally grown and frozen if local is not available.

Wally’s Daily Dose

www.webnd.com

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