Fresh vs. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh vs. Frozen Fruits and VegetablesAhh, the age old debate: fresh vs. frozen fruits and vegetables.

Personally, I buy both. I’ll get a bag of frozen fruit (typically a frozen berry blend or straight blueberries) which I use in my smoothies. If it’s fruit that I plan on eating, then I buy fresh. The same goes for my vegetables as well. I have a general plan in my head about what I’m going to eat and on what days, and I buy my produce based on that.

It’s easy to think that frozen wouldn’t be as nutritious as fresh, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Generally fruit that’s frozen is picked when it’s at its peak ripeness. It’s then blanched to sterilize it, flash-frozen afterwards, and then packaged and shipped off to your local grocery store.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are a different story. Have you ever seen green bananas at your local supermarket? That’s because fresh produce is picked before it’s ripe. It’s then boxed up and shipped out on trucks where it starts to ripen on its journey to grocery stores around the globe. I say “around the globe” because the vast majority of the produce you’ll find at your supermarket isn’t grown locally. If it was, you probably wouldn’t have access to most of it during the winter months.

So, which is better: fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables?

Well, they’re both about the same, according to the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration found in a 1998 study that in terms of nutrition, fresh and frozen produce are about the same. Sure, some nutrients are lost during the blanching and freezing process for frozen produce, but fresh produce can also lose some nutrients during its journey from the farm to your grocery store where it will sit in boxes exposed to both warm and cold temperatures.

Which one is right for you really depends on your needs. If you like having vegetables with your dinner occasionally, pick up a bag of frozen corn or even canned peas packed in water. If you like berries on your cereal or banana cut on your oatmeal, fresh is probably the way to go.