Which is best?

This is my guide to when to buy fresh and when to buy frozen vegetables.

Does choosing fresh fruit and vegetables mean you are choosing quality over convenience or is there more to the decision?
I will state upfront my belief is that fresh is best; and fresh, local, seasonal foods are better. However, there is a place for frozen fruits and vegetables.

Buy fresh for seasonal variety

Personally, I choose to buy most from my local fruit and veg store, grow as much as I can my own garden and then occasional market trips and. For me it feels right and I get a best idea of what is in season.

I shop once or twice a week, even though our household is just the two most of the time, apparently this is normal for most households.
87% of Australian grocery buyers buy fresh fruit and vegetable each week and of those 72% are from Supermarkets and 11% from markets and stalls (2015 Roy Morgan stats). The research doesn’t tell us where the remaining 13% buy, if they buy any fruit and vegetables, or whether they buy fresh or just frozen produce.

To enjoy the food we consume we need to engage all our senses.. Use our senses to appreciate the different textures, smells and flavours … this starts when you are purchasing fruit and vegetables. The smell and textures are different when they are at their peak for freshness and ripeness, leaning and appreciating the differences will make you a more discerning shopper. you can’t do this if your produce is covered in plastic. And then there is the cost saving as seasonal foods are always cheaper!

Buy frozen for back-up and ‘must have’ out of season produce

Buy frozen for back-up and ‘must have’ out of season produce

No one could deny that frozen vegetables are convenient and last longer than fresh. This makes them perfect for the end of the week when you have run out of your fresh perishable produce. The convenience can save you from going for the alternative of takeaway.

The marketers and researchers for the multinational industrialised processors have done a great job in producing research and selling us that frozen vegetables are equal in nutritional value, and sure on some nutrient base lines they might be. But as with all living things fruit and vegetable are more than the sum of the parts that can be statistically analysed. Please also consider the resources used by the large industrialised processing machinery to cook, process, package, freeze and store and then the huge energy resources to transport and store the frozen packaged produce.

Even with all the science and technology not all fruits and vegetables freeze well, so be selective with your choices.

Consistent quality

If you are buying your fruit and vegetable loose and unpackaged you can select the best quality produce or the quality that matches your budget.
If you are buying your produce packed in transparent films or plastic, watch for mould growth. Some moulds can grow even in refrigeration and will therefore spoil quickly, or not have an enjoyable taste. Whereas, generally frozen vegetables are of a consistent quality. There are exceptions to both as seen by the regular scary reports of badly handled contamination of fruits and vegetables.

Storage of fresh produce

To keep your vegetables at their freshest, avoid crowding produce in the refrigerator; ensure good air circulation around each item. Proper storage keeps your food in good condition and safe from the growth of food poisoning bacteria and reduces waste.

The ‘best before’ date is your best guide to storage life for both fresh and frozen produce. However, it is only useful if the food has been stored correctly before you buy it. This is particularly a concern for imported frozen produce.

Clear your fridge of fruit & vegetables regularly

On the left is a photo of my fridge the day before shopping, and then the day after I did my shop. I finished off all the vegetables, except the carrots for dinner last night.

By clearing and using your fruit and vegetables regularly you will:

  • avoid over-buying, as you know what you have. Remember perishables have only a limited shelf life, so the convenience and economy of buying in bulk or on special is lost if spoiled, and you must throw it out.
  • clean out any loose leaves or produce that may have gone soggy or been damaged, as these will likely to go mouldy and spoil other foods.

Whether you are buying your fruit and vegetables fresh or frozen they will start deteriorating soon after they are picked but that doesn’t mean they lose all their value. Nutrients are also lost when they are cooked but again not all.
Buying and eating locally grown fresh foods is a great way to reduce food miles and your carbon footprint while enjoying a wider variety of nutritious food.
Frozen foods are a nutritious option, where convenience is a priority. A vegetable in any form is better than no vegetable at all.

If you need individualised nutrition support in a clinic consultation to create healthy habits, or prefer mentoring in small workshops for family meal planning, shopping experiences, pantry reviews please give me a call to chat about where and how I support you to restore your health and vitality 0417 820 292 or book on-line via my contact page.