Frozen Vegetables vs. Fresh Vegetables

A conversation with a friend of mine struck my curiosity and made me do some research on whether frozen vegetables lose their nutritional value. To be completely honest with you, I thought Fresh is best always without exception. But every day is an opportunity to learn something new and I definitely learned something new today!

As it turns out… Here’s the deal with frozen veggies.

Vegetables are blanched in hot water or steamed prior to being frozen- so they do lose a few nutrients in that process…but then they are “flash-frozen” which keeps them in their nutrient-rich state. But here’s the important piece of information… they are allowed to ripen prior to freezing, so they are being frozen at their peak nutrient state.

Fresh vegetables are usually transported and in order to avoid being spoiled by the time they get to the fresh produce aisle, they are taken off the vine prior to being ripe. So they never actually get to their peak nutrient state on the vine. Then they are exposed to outdoor whether conditions in transit from Farm to Store so they encounter a loss of nutrients in that process. So the longer they travel, the more nutrients they lose. And the longer they sit on that aisle waiting for someone to scoop them up…the more nutrients they lose as well.

So what’s the conclusion:  Move to a farm!!!! 

Just kidding- some nutrient value is going to be lost whether you purchase fresh or frozen vegetables, but the recommendation is the following:

1. If you are buying local, in season vegetables – your best bet is FRESH.

2. If you are buying vegetables that are not in season and not locally grown – your best bet is actually FROZEN!

You can also gage how quickly you intend to use those veggies – if you’re making dinner that night and want some fresh delicious vegetables, go ahead and enjoy. But if you just want to have them available at home for later in the week, you may want to try some frozen ones and see how it goes.

NOTE: One additional comment; frozen vegetables do start to lose nutritional value if they are stored for an extended period of time. So I highly recommend buying what you need and using even your frozen vegetables on a regular basis. Don’t leave them in the freezer for months because then you are not getting their full benefit.

OH, and for cooking – avoid boiling – that causes the water soluble nutrients like vitamin b and c to leach out into the water. (Although if you’re making a mash you can pour the very same water back into the blender to mash the vegetables and keep the nutrients.)



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