Frozen Fruit and Vegetables Are Picked at Peak Ripeness
Frozen fruit and vegetables are frozen at peak ripeness. This is an extremely important thing to note. When produce is picked at its peak ripeness, it is when nutrients are at their highest levels, and when it tastes the best. Freeze-drying and flash-freezing produce is the way to preserve nutrients and taste for an extended period of time—and frozen fruit and vegetables do both of these things. In fact, they’re usually picked within 24 hours of being frozen!
Frozen Produce Is Easy to Use for Smoothies, Soups, and Sides
Frozen produce is easy to use in smoothies, soups and stews, curries, casseroles and more. It’s so much easier to toss frozen bananas into a blender than it is to peel, chop and freeze fresh ones yourself — and way cheaper too. The same goes for kale: Tearing up fresh kale for use in a smoothie or soup can take several minutes; a bag of precut frozen kale does the same job in seconds. If you don’t have time to cook or prep your own fruits and veggies but want to add them to your dishes, go with the frozen variety.
Frozen Fruit Is Ideal for Baking
When it comes to baking, frozen fruit is the secret to your sweet success. It’s ideal for anything that calls for juicy fruit, like pies and crumbles. Frozen fruit is also the perfect way to make a healthier dessert because you can use dates or slices of banana instead of sugar.
So just how easy is it to bake with frozen fruit? We tested out three simple recipes—a dessert caramel sauce, a peanut butter smoothie bowl and a chocolate-raspberry clafoutis (get the recipes here)—and we were blown away by how much better these dishes tasted using frozen fruit versus fresh. The chocolate-raspberry clafoutis was especially impressive: A classic French baked custard dish that’s similar to a flan or cake, this one was light and spongy and bursting with flavor from the raspberries.
Frozen fruit can also be used in smoothies, soups or sauces—anywhere you might use fresh produce would work with frozen produce.
You Can Stock Up on Frozen Fruits and Vegetables for Busy Weeks
Don’t let frozen fruits and veggies get lost in the freezer abyss. When you buy them, take the time to organize so that they’re visible at eye level. Consider using a clear container or keeping them on a rack like spices. This will remind you that they’re there and make it easier to see when your supplies are running low.
And if you do find yourself with some frozen fruits and vegetables that are getting close to their expiration date, don’t throw them out! Make a soup, stir-fry, or smoothie with whatever needs to be used up.
Frozen Produce Can Be a Cheaper Alternative
Frozen produce can be a more affordable option than fresh produce. In fact, frozen fruits and vegetables are often less expensive than their fresh counterparts. This is particularly true during the off-season because it costs less to ship produce when it’s plentiful and in-season in growing regions. For example, frozen strawberries typically cost about $1 per pound less than fresh strawberries during the winter months.
Frozen Veggies Often Have More Nutrients Than Fresh
Additionally, frozen produce can often contain more nutrients than what you’d find at your local grocery store. Why? Because although we think of produce as being freshest when it’s picked and immediately consumed, that isn’t necessarily the case. When produce is harvested and not eaten right away, it starts to lose some of its nutritional value. This means that the fresh fruits and vegetables you’re buying are likely not quite as nutrient-dense as they could be. On the other hand, when frozen produce is harvested, it’s typically taken straight to a facility where it’s washed, cut or processed in some way (like how corn kernels are removed from the fresh cob), then frozen right away. The vitamins and minerals are locked in at that point.
The next time you’re standing in front of a wall full of fresh and frozen options at your grocery store or farmers market, ask yourself if you really know which one will give you more nutrients for your dollar. You may be surprised by the answer—and by what your body has been craving.
Your Next Freezer Trip Can Help You Beat Sugar Cravings
You may not think of your freezer as a repository of health, but it turns out that the frozen aisle is full of goodies that can help you manage sugar cravings. Frozen fruit and vegetables are an excellent option if you’re looking for a quick, easy, healthy substitute for sugar. One meta-analysis published in Current Obesity Reports found that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with decreased body weight and visceral adipose tissue—the type of fat associated with diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
In addition to the nutritional benefits, frozen fruits and veggies are super versatile and can be easily incorporated into a variety of dishes—whether it’s grilled pineapple on top of pizza or roasted cauliflower mixed into your mashed potatoes. Bonus: They’re already prepped for you, so all you have to do is throw them on a baking tray or stir fry skillet, and let the oven or stove do all the work!
Don’t underestimate the power of frozen fruit and vegetables.
- Frozen produce can be cheaper than fresh produce, because you’re buying in bulk and won’t have to worry about food waste as you work through your bag. It’s often more affordable than canned fruit and vegetables, too.
- It’s easy to incorporate into meals. Just toss a handful of spinach or some frozen strawberries into your morning smoothie bowl and call it breakfast, or do the same with oatmeal for an added vitamin boost. You can also add frozen veggies like cauliflower rice to soups, stews, and stir-fries for a healthy dose of fiber that rounds out any meal.
- Frozen fruit is a great option for baking when you want to cut back on sugar but don’t want to sacrifice flavor—it helps sweeten muffins, pancakes, breads, cakes, and other baked goods without the need for extra brown sugar or syrup that would otherwise add excess calories.
- Frozen berries are also perfect in place of ice cubes in smoothies—they act as an all-natural way to thicken up drinks without adding empty calories from ice cream or yogurt (although those are fine too).