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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Frozen Vegetables

frozen edamame
There is an ongoing debate about whether frozen fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh. I've seen a couple of articles that claim that frozen veggies are generally harvested at their peak of ripeness and freshness, whereas fresh veggies are often picked before they are fully ripe. This is done to prevent spoilage and allow more time for ripening during the transit time from farm to store to your table. And, while frozen veggies might lose some nutrients from the freezing process, because they are allowed to continue growing longer, they have more time to develop their nutrients to the fullest. So, it seems there is an equally good arguments in favor of frozen over fresh.What do you think?

 In any case, I find it helpful to have some frozen veggies on hand. When you buy fresh, you may not get around to eating all of it before it starts going bad. It can be very handy to have some frozen veggies in the freezer to add to a soup or other recipe. Not to mention that frozen veggies are already washed, peeled, diced, etc.

So here is my list of suggestions for frozen vegetables that you might consider keeping on hand.

Broccoli - I like to get frozen broccoli because I want the florets more than the stalk. And it is so easy to pour out a small amount to use in an omelet or for a side dish of steamed broccoli. I also love to eat broccoli with non fat melted cheese of course.

Butternut squash, acorn, winter - any of the orange squashes are often difficult to peel when raw. So buying them frozen allows you to circumvent that process.

Cauliflower - It always seems to me that cauliflower is a little more perishable than a lot of other veggies. I am always finding little moldy brown spots that have to be scraped off. Since I use it mainly in soups and casseroles, to me it just makes more sense to buy it frozen.

Corn - when using corn in casseroles and soups, fresh corn still on the cob has to be scraped off the cob with a sharp knife. If you are in a hurry, it can be a little tricky. Of course, if you want to eat your corn still on the cob, most stores have it frozen that way too. 

Edamame - usually frozen edamame is still in the pod which means after steaming, you have to snap open the pod to get to the peas. I actually like doing this.

Green beans - chop both ends and then cut? Maybe not. Frozen, cut green beans are just so much easier. Plus, green beans are easily used in casseroles and soups so if a low prep meal is what you are looking for, frozen green beans are handy.

Sliced peppers - some of the combo bags have a mix of red, green and yellow peppers. These are great for stirfries!

Speaking of vegetables... I recently learned about a program called Root 4 Kids, which has a mission to inspire families and schools nationwide to eat more real food. To encourage participation and create friendly competition this spring, they are encouraging parents, family members, teachers and administrators to sign up and commit to helping kids eat more veggies. The Root 4 Kids contest will award the school with the most sign-ups by May 31, 2011 with its choice of a Farm to School program or a school garden, which I think is pretty darn cool, and worth learning more about.

Enjoy!
Juliet

1 comment:

Marcia said...

Juliet, have you ever tried frozen Kale? I picked some up at our local Whole Foods - their label - and it was delish! Nice and sweet which was a real treat.

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