Milk, Eggs, Butter….and Frozen
Recently, we came across an article at EatingWell.com which posed the question, “Are we sacrificing nutrition by opting for frozen?”
Our first thought was: Are they living in the dark ages?
Then, we saw the date: 2007. It all made sense. Four years ago, they would have been forgiven for asking this legitimate nutritional question. Frozen myths circulated. The IQF method of freezing fruits and vegetables remained unclear to some consumers. And, because of a seemingly stable economy and a health crisis that was still in the nascent stages of publicity, consumer demand for solutions to eating well for less money was still at a dull roar.
Today, those frozen peas aren’t just taking up space until the next sprain. We know frozen preserves all the nutrition of fresh, and perhaps more, since frozen fruits and vegetables are processed at their peak, not before, as they often are in anticipation of the selling cycle. And, manufacturers have responded by providing bigger bags for bulk and economy, small serving sizes for convenience, re-sealable bags, and more variety. Now, when we head to the supermarket for staples, we get the milk, the eggs, the butter, and the bag of frozen.
The future is here. Nutrition, availability, and cost are immediate associations when we think of frozen. Here are a few other reasons to think of frozen as one the best things to happen this century besides phones smaller than shoeboxes:
Frozen fruits and veggies eliminate kitchen prep. Stop thinking that you can only get your fruit and veggie nutrition if you have to cut, chop and peel. Suffering for your supper is simply not a requirement in the age of frozen. Frozen veggies, for instance, are often chopped (broccoli), peeled (squash) or prepared (spinach) for our convenience, as are fruits that can otherwise be time-consuming to denude – like pineapple, for instance.
Frozen is easy to work with. The IQF method preserves the individual integrity of the fruit or vegetable. That means that unlike regular freezing methods of yore, excess water is not an issue, and mushy product is avoided. The resulting quality is perfect for cooks. Frozen fruits like blueberries can be easily folded into other ingredients and can be substituted for fresh without sacrificing flavor.
Frozen is there when you need it. The convenience of having healthy food available anytime you need it cannot be overstated. A quick pour of bell pepper from a freezer bag can liven up a pasta dish. A sprinkle of kale can make a soup pop. Frozen spinach can take tortellini from dull to brilliant. Whatever you’re making, if you’ve stocked up on frozen staples, you can make a dish healthy and colorful at the drop of a hat and never waste a bit.
Expand Your Frozen Repertoire
In their post, Frozen Produce: My favorite Kitchen Staple, Fruits & Veggies More Matters shares some fruits and veggies that might not be top of mind when it comes to frozen. While they are quick to point out that blueberries are a fabulous frozen staple because of their high nutritional content and versatility that spans oatmeal and beef (tell us about it!), their article reminds us of some other great frozen options as well.
Edamame, for example, is a healthy snack that can be stocked in the freezer, and frozen butternut squash is another great seasonless suggestion that makes preparation easy – none of the usual cutting, seeding and peeling.
They are all great ideas to use as inspiration for when you go browsing in your frozen produce section. You can see what you’re missing out on when it comes to expanding your frozen repertoire – and increasing the daily servings that are so important for your health and longevity.