Frozen vs. Fresh: The Produce debate

Back in the day, I use to buy everything fresh and just prep the crap of out of it.  Now I don’t really have the time to do that with the little one running around.  But I also don’t know how to get my veggies in the way I want them buying them fresh.  My broccoli was always too hard, or I didn’t cook the green beans long enough.  There was always a problem.

And then I started buying frozen vegetables.  I never thought this was a problem until there was a recall on some frozen vegetables at my grocery store and started reading the comments.  People were mean.  Someone called people lazy for getting frozen produce and said people like “you” were ruining America.  I was offended because I was just trying to get my real food in just like everyone else.


Is it better to buy fresh vs. frozen?

I did a little research to get you started, but I must admit there is a lot of science here.  I don’t claim to know any of that stuff, I just wanted to know what the people were saying.  I welcome you to dive deeper into the subject to find out the information that is most important to you.  I was searching for the loss of nutrients in buy fresh vs. frozen foods.

There has been little information showing that buying fresh vs. frozen foods sacrificing the nutrients.  There is not across the board answer to this because it really does depend on the products you’re buying fresh or frozen.. There were different trade-offs in favor of frozen and fresh foods.  During my reading, I learned there is a nutrient loss in fresh produce anyway because the nutrients are strongest at harvest.  By the time it makes it to our store, it could be days after harvest so who really knows what you’re getting.,

Here’s some of the information I learned:

  • Foods with high amounts of fat soluble nutrients are best frozen because they are more stable during processing.  This means carrots, leafy greens, and broccoli is a good bet for buying frozen.
  • It’s best to buy produce that is high in Vitamins B & C fresh.  Buying berries, citrus fruits, cabbage, and bell pepper fresh will retain the nutrients you are looking for and might be best for cooking fresh.
  • Most nutrients we are seeking from our produce aren’t affected by the freezing like fiber and iron.
  • I saw it many times that you should not buy frozen cabbage because it will completely demolish the nutritional benefits for the vegetable.  But I don’t know if I’ve ever seen frozen cabbage?  Have you?  And I don’t think that would be good when it unthawed? It will probably be mushy, Maybe that’s just me and maybe I’m trying to add a bit of humor here.
  • Boiling or steaming is the best way to cook your frozen vegetables for keeping the antioxidant levels high.
  • Cook your frozen produce with little to no water at a low temperature to ensure you’re getting all the nutritional benefits.

My take away is that it’s okay to buy your frozen produce with some exceptions, like the cabbage.  Sometimes I just need the extra help to make sure I’m getting the foods that will fuel my body.  I know the whole discussion of steaming your food in the plastic bags and how we should stop ingesting so much plastic in our diets. You can steam without those plastic bags in your microwave.  We have a steamer that works great.

There are the initial concerns because these frozen items are still going through a processing plant where listeria becomes a problem.  Nothing is really safe but those are things that are out of our control.  Just be cautious and aware of the products you are buying.

The frozen produce that I am most likely to buy are carrots, broccoli (lots of it), turnip/collard greens, spinach, and corn.  I only buy frozen fruits for smoothie purposes.  I have been buying frozen cauliflower but now I still need to research because I did read how that is one of the best fresh vegetables.  There is a lot of information on this subject and I encourage you to find out more information.

I don’t think you should worry about buying fresh or frozen produce in the long run.  The most important thing is that we’re adding these things into our daily diet and sometimes, this is what we need to do to make it work.  Explore the subject to find out what is most important to you.

What produce are you most likely to buy frozen?