Frozen Veggies and Fruit
Believe it or not, some frozen vegetables and fruits can be more nutritious than fresh produce especially in the winter months. Vegetables and fruits that are picked for freezing are processed when they are most nutrient dense -- their peak ripeness.
When choosing frozen vegetables and fruit, there is a quality difference between different brands and products. The differences in quality can influence taste, texture and appearance. Which means if you are not a big vegetable eater, you always want to make sure that you are buying "U.S. Grade A" or "Fancy" because those are the vegetables/fruits that "are carefully selected for color, tenderness and freedom from blemishes". Other grades such as B or C are not as high of quality and Grade C are ideal for soups, stews and casseroles.
Organic vegetables/fruits are available frozen. Personally, I am a big fan of Trader Joe's frozen vegetables and fruits. Hands down, they offer the most variety of mixes and always with high quality ingredients.
When choosing canned fruits, it is best to keep with those products that are simply just the fruit and either juice or water. A lot of companies add high fructose sugar to canned fruits, which really isn't necessary. Some fruits are sold in light syrup or heavy syrup. Heavy syrup fruits are ideal for baking and quite sweet to eat for your fruit serving.
Some easy tips for produce consumption in the winter months:
- Keep 3-5 packages of frozen vegetables/fruits "in stock" at all times (you will never run out)
- Frozen vegetables can be made in the microwave (5 minutes on high) or sauteed with some seasoning and olive on the stove top (5 minutes)
- Frozen fruits taste great pureed with milk and ice -- smoothie
- Choose frozen vegetables over canned for greater nutrient content
- Both Grade A and Grade B frozen vegetables would taste good, Grade A is a higher quality
- Keep 3-5 cans of canned fruit "in stock" at all times
- Read the labels for canned fruit and avoid products with added high fructose corn syrup
- If you accidently purchased fruit in heavy syrup, you can always rinse the syrup off
- Cooking frozen vegetables on the stove retains more heat in the vegetable than microwave cooking. Microwaved vegetables can lose their heat very quickly, thus leaving the vegetable tasting pretty bad
- Experiment with different seasonings for vegetables. Visit Penzeys spices either in the store or online, they have some excellent seasonings for veggies