You may have noticed a lack of fresh produce in my grocery purchases over the past few months. That is because I do not buy a whole lot of fresh produce other than a few basic fruits (such as apples, bananas, and oranges). Until the summer. Then fresh produce is bought in abundance at either my favorite grocery store or a local farmer's market. This summer, though, I will not be making it to the farmer's market very often, but I will be getting a box filled with lots of yummy organic produce through my CSA!
So do I just not eat vegetables during the non-scorching hot months? Absolutely not! I just frequently choose frozen. I have a few reasons for this:
- Convenience - I do not always make it to the grocery store to do produce stock-ups, whether out of time or the fact that the good stores are so far away from me. Being able to pull out a bag of frozen vegetables at any time is a great time saving trick. Frozen fruit is also great to have around for making smoothies or for a quick snack for the kid (he loves frozen mango!) who likes to go on food strikes and only eat certain things for a few days before refusing them for the next few.
- Price - I stock up on basic frozen organic produce in bulk at Costco at a great price. I also can't resist the price Trader Joe's offers on certain frozen items. The convenience factor also has to do with the price because since I do not have to make lots of trips for fresh produce, I save gas. Keeping produce on hand in the freezer also ensures that I am not making last minute trips to the store that result in me buying other products I do not really need.
- Nutrition - Frozen produce can actually be more nutritious than fresh many times. Of course, this isn't the case when buying local since the produce is fresh picked at the peak of freshness. But in the case of supermarkets and even so-called farmer's markets that sell produce from all over the country and even the world, frozen wins nutritionally hands down. Produce at a supermarket is often picked before it is really ready and then it must travel for days and even weeks before reaching shelves where it may continue to sit for a few days. While in the supermarket, the exposure to the air and even the spray of the misters continues decreases the nutrients. Frozen vegetables are almost always (I say almost since there are cheapy brands of produce) picked at the peak of freshness and flash-frozen to lock in nutrients.
What about you? Do you eat mostly fresh or frozen produce?