There’s little doubt that frozen vegetables are a handy cooking staple to have in your kitchen year-round, and for those folks who live in the northern part of the US, frozen veggies can be a big help in the winter months when fresh, regionally-grown produce is harder to come by. It’s no surprise that industry statistics show sales of frozen vegetables hitting their highest in the months November through April.
Top 10 Frozen Vegetables
If you’re curious about what what the Top 10 most popular frozen veggies are, here’s the breakdown from the US government’s Office of the Federal Register:
Love these vegetables? Buy them frozen? Tommy’s Superfoods has a flash-frozen vegetable medley that features each one of these top 10 vegetables, that we’re sure you’ll love. Check out our Products page for a full description!
Three Reasons to Buy Frozen Vegetables
1. Know What To Expect At the Register
Shoppers often see prices increases for “fresh produce” (often imported from Mexico, South America, or other parts of the United States) because of the need to ship produce from greater distances at different times of year. Prices for frozen vegetable remain fairly stable regardless of the time of year.
We can all agree on the convenience factor of frozen vegetables – they are quick and easy to prepare. No washing, peeling, chopping, or seasoning necessary.
3. Frozen Vegetables are Better for the Planet
Frozen vegetables are sustainable. You never have to worry about wasting food that you didn’t get a chance to eat before it turned brown.
The Biggest Reason to Choose Frozen Vegetables: Nutrition
Vegetables keep their nutritional value when they’re flash frozen immediately after being picked. “Fresh” vegetables are often picked before peak ripeness and slowly lose their moisture, and starches and sugars breakdown before they even make it into your shopping cart – resulting in the loss of texture and taste.
Harvested vegetables that are destined for the freezer aisle at your grocery store are picked at peak ripeness, which preserves the best taste and nutrient levels. Prior to the flash freezing process, the vegetables are washed and quickly steamed or blanched. This final step removes substances like dirt, as well as enzymes that cause the vegetable to turn brown.
What Research Shows
Based on research conducted by the American Council on Exercise, freezing vegetables does not alter their mineral, fiber or carbohydrate content, but water-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin C, and Thiamin and folate, can degrade slightly during blanching or if you happen to over-cook the vegetables when you prepare them at home. This is why it’s essential to follow the cooking instructions on each package. Whether you’re preparing fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven, you will want to make sure the cooking time and temperature is such that you maintain peak nutritional value – not to mention the taste and texture!
While the nutritional value of frozen vegetables is just as good as fresh, you do want to make sure you check the ingredients list and nutritional values label on the package just to make sure you aren’t ruining your healthy choice with a selection that is jam-packed with sodium, artificial preservatives, high fat-sauces, or high-calorie sweeteners. Look for frozen vegetable selections that offer flavor with all-natural herbs, spices and seasonings. If you follow a plant-based diet, or need to avoid dairy, be sure to look for the symbol that indicates the product is “vegan” that way you’ll know for sure that butter, cream, or milk-based by-products are not included. Same rule applies for consumers with gluten intolerance. While you might think a bag of mixed frozen vegetables wouldn’t contain gluten, it can appear in sauces or seasonings, so if there’s any doubt, pick a bag with the “GF” (gluten-free) symbol (at Tommy’s we’re proud to be both vegan, gluten-free, and Non-GMO Project verified!).
When you’re shopping for fresh, local produce during the peak growing season, the choices can be plentiful at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. But when you don’t have time to buy locally, or the winter months arrive, having a well-stocked freezer with frozen vegetable selections can be a healthy and environmentally sustainable way to eat get the proper nutrition you need with every meal.