5 Reasons to Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies + Wild Blueberry Buddha Recipe


You may remember the saying, “Fresh is best.” You might even still believe it! But thanks to a growing body of research on the nutrition benefits of produce we now know that fresh produce isn’t any better than frozen. In honor of National Frozen Food Month this March, we’re going to be busting some myths today around frozen fruits and veggies!

Great Nutrition: A number of studies show that there are minimal differences in the nutrient content of frozen versus fresh produce and in some instances, frozen has even more nutrients than fresh! Frozen fruits are generally picked at peak ripeness, when they’re most nutritious and the freezing process helps lock in those nutrients. In fact, Wild Blueberries are frozen fresh within 24 hours of harvest, when their flavor and antioxidant goodness are at their ultimate peak!

Less Food Waste: Another benefit to choosing frozen fruits and vegetables is their long shelf life! Fresh fruits and vegetables are at greater risk for spoilage and food waste, but frozen allows you to buy in bulk without the worry of your produce going bad.

Higher Consumption: In fact, one study found that people who purchase frozen fruits and vegetables consume significantly more produce than those who don’t purchase frozen. So if you’re looking to increase your fruit and veggie intake, frozen produce may be your answer!

Smaller Grocery Bill: Purchasing frozen produce can also help keep your grocery bills down. Frozen fruits and vegetables are generally less expensive than fresh. For instance, a 10-ounce bag of frozen fruit is about the same price as six ounces of the fresh fruit. The USDA has a nifty interactive chart you can use to compare the cost of fresh vs. frozen produce.

Enjoy When Ready: I love stocking my freezer with frozen produce because it takes the pressure off of having to consume it all within a short period of time. With frozen produce, I can eat it when I’m ready for it, rather than when it’s ready for me. With 99% of the Wild Blueberry crop being frozen, I can always count on having Wild Blueberries on hand in my freezer.

My latest recipe using frozen Wild Blueberries capitalizes on the trend for grain bowls or “Buddha Bowls.” While this recipe calls for fresh produce, feel free to substitute it with frozen. You can easily substitute Swiss Chard for frozen spinach, and I recently heard that you can now find frozen avocados on the market, too! Wins for frozen produce all around!

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Wild Blueberry Buddha Bowl

For the Buddha Bowl:
2 cups dry quinoa
5 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small-medium sweet potatoes, quartered
2, 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems trimmed, roughly chopped
2 avocados, sliced
For the Wild Blueberry Cashew Dressing:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least one hour
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon minced)
½ cup frozen Wild Blueberries, defrosted
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt

For the Buddha Bowl:
1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, chili powder, cumin and salt. Toss sweet potatoes in bowl until evenly coated.
4. Roast sweet potatoes in oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
5. Add chickpeas to same bowl with chili powder mixture and toss to evenly coat.
6. In a large nonstick pan, heat ½ tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set cooked chickpeas aside.
7. Using the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add Swiss chard and cook, tossing often, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.
8. To assemble the Buddha bowl, add your quinoa as the base and top with sweet potato, chickpeas, Swiss chard and avocado. Drizzle with Wild Blueberry Cashew Dressing.

For the Wild Blueberry Cashew Dressing:
1. In a high-speed blender, add cashews, shallot, Wild Blueberries, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, water and salt. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over Buddha Bowls.

Depending on the size of your nonstick pan, you may want to cook chickpeas in two batches so they are evenly browned.

Kara Lydon

About the Author

Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT is a nationally recognized food and nutrition expert and yoga teacher based in Boston. Kara offers nutrition & culinary coaching, consults with corporate wellness clients, and partners with like-minded food brands and organizations on recipe development, food photography, and nutrition communications and marketing. Kara has most recently been featured in Fitness, Shape, Today’s Dietitian, Environmental Nutrition, and Food & Nutrition Magazine. Her food and healthy living blog, The Foodie Dietitian, features delicious seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more yoga and mindfulness into your life. She has been featured on The Kitchn, BuzzFeed, TODAY, and SELF. Kara previously led health communication strategy for Chobani, Inc., where she pioneered an integrated program targeting health professionals, and served as the key nutrition spokesperson for America’s #1 selling Greek Yogurt brand.