Good Nutrition News: Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Frozen fruits and frozen vegetables are good for you!

They are just as nutritious as fresh produce, and may sometimes be even a little more nutritious!

Because fruits and/or vegetables are processed (washed, cut, and frozen) very soon after being harvested, their freshness is “frozen” in place at just-picked quality! This can include ripeness (as they don’t have to be picked early to prevent spoilage on the way to the customer) and nutrition. Here’s how the process works:

The process is very similar for frozen vegetables – except they are usually blanched (boiled very briefly) before freezing so the natural enzymes in the vegetables don’t break the texture down over time. Here’s a video about frozen peas if you want to watch the vegetable process

Why are frozen vegetables and fruits are sometimes higher in nutrition than fresh ones?

Some vitamins and antioxidants degrade over time. Freezing a fruit or vegetable stops or really really slows down this process, so the vitamin content of frozen produce might be higher than one that has been sitting in the produce section (or in your fridge drawer) for a few days.

(This is not to say that fresh vegetables or fruit are devoid of nutrition if you don’t eat them right out of the ground or off the tree – it is only a very small portion that degrades. I just like to illustrate that you aren’t missing any nutrition by eating frozen produce)

Besides excellent nutrition, think of the other benefits of frozen produce!

  • No washing, chopping, slicing, peeling, needed – ready to use!
  • Most plain frozen fruits and vegetable products are just that – frozen fruits and vegetables. They don’t contain any added salt, sugar, fat, or preservatives! (You can always check the ingredients list if you want to make sure)
  • As long as you have freezer space – no need to worry about them going bad. According the USDA, they are safe to eat indefinitely (forever) as long as they have been continuously frozen — although the taste or texture might not be as nice if they’ve been frozen for a long time
  • Sometimes they are more affordable than fresh, especially if it is a seasonal item (like strawberries or peaches) or one that does not grow where you live
  • Some vegetables are even packaged in a bag you can microwave directly so you don’t even have to get another dish dirty! (This is easy and pretty safe and a great way to get kids helping – just be careful with the hot package when it’s done!)

Some ways to use frozen produce besides steaming or making smoothies

  • Add frozen fruit to baked goods – blueberry muffins anytime πŸ˜€
  • Top a cereal or yogurt with frozen fruit
  • Cook frozen fruit with a few spoons of sugar to make a syrup that you can use on whatever you like!
  • Add frozen vegetables into the last few minutes boiling pasta to get an extra serving of veggies
  • Add frozen vegetables to a soup – again you can just throw them in the last few minutes
  • Roast frozen vegetables – here’s a recipe for frozen roasted Brussels sprouts

How do you like to use frozen produce?

Festive and easy fruit for Christmas breakfast:

Chunky applesauce.

jump to recipe

My grandma always made this type of applesauce for Christmas breakfast. We’d have it alongside buttery biscuits, cranberry orange bread, eggs, and bacon for everyone else (not a fan, personally). It’s so chunky, cinnamonny, and sweet, it’s basically apple pie filling.

She would always make a big pot, so there would be leftovers for future breakfasts and lunches too.

Hey, if you like to do a ham or roast for Christmas dinner, this would be a great side for that too. I had it with some roast beef for lunch today!

This recipe is made even easier because you don’t even peel the apples. My grandpa maintains that this is the only real kind of applesauce, any other kind is “babyfood”.

Certainly if you want to peel your apples you can, but leaving them on is less work and nearly twice the fiber!


Here’s the rough recipe for chunky apple sauce:

(credit to this recipe for sugar ratio suggestions)

  • Wash the apples
  • Core and chop into bite-size-ish pieces and put them in a big pot
  • Add sugar, (1 – 1.5 Tbsp per apple) and cinnamon (1/2 tsp per apple) and stir until all the apples are cooked
  • Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring every 10 minutes until the apples are the tenderness you like (about 30-40 minutes)
  • Serve warm or let cool and store in the fridge for later. It’s good reheated or cold!

Enjoy!

You can certainly modify this to use different sweeteners, spices or quantities. If you do, feel free to share how it turned out in the comments!