Frozen fruits and vegetables often get a bad rap—think old fashioned microwaved carrots and peas sapped of any nutritional value. The truth is there are many amazing benefits to eating frozen produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables save you time, save you money from the high prices of imported produce, and contain even more nutritional value than fresh produce.
The secret behind the hidden nutrition of frozen produce is the flash freezing process. Nutritional value is at its peak the moment the fruit is ripe and picked. Depending on the number of days between harvest and consumption, that fruit or vegetable could be seriously lacking in vitamins and minerals (one study found that up to 45% of nutritional value may be lost). Flash freezing eliminates this problem by freezing the produce the moment it is picked, at the peak of ripeness, sealing in all of the wonderful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they have to offer.
Scan the frozen section for brands with no added salt or sugar and you’ll soon be cooking with produce that might as well be fresh from the farm, with little washing, chopping, and prepping involved. Steaming or microwaving your veggies gives you the best results and prevents too many water-soluble vitamins from leaching out in the cooking process.
After a long, exhausting day, before you order in from your favorite take out restaurant, grab a bag of frozen fruits or vegetables and try one of these quick, healthy, and satisfying breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even desserts.
There is not much better than a comforting bowl of Pad Thai noodles. Grab a bag of Asian stir fry mix, boil up some buckwheat soba noodles, and toss with Fairway’s Sesame Teriyaki Sauce and your Thai food craving will be satisfied.
For a quick and delicious breakfast, blend your favorite frozen fruit with low-fat vanilla yogurt for a smoothie on-the-go.
Place 1/3 cup of steel cut oats, 2/3 cup of water, and a handful of frozen blueberries in a bowl and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Stir together and you’ll have a delicious and beautifully blue blueberry oatmeal.
Frozen spinach, artichokes, broccoli, and peppers are perfect steamed over whole wheat pasta and Fairway marinara sauce.
An egg frittata is a yummy and super easy brunch dish or dinner paired with a green salad. Steam 1 cup of asparagus and carrots and cook minced shallot and garlic over medium heat in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet pan. Add thyme and vegetable mixture and cook until heated through. Pour 8 whisked eggs, egg whites, or a combination of both over the vegetables, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top, and cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking for 5 to 7 minutes.
Frozen vegetables make an easy and healthy addition to soups. Try a refreshing pea soup with mint and frozen peas. Add chopped celery, onions, and garlic to a pot with olive oil. Add two bags of frozen and defrosted peas, 1 cup of water or vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add one cup of milk and two tablespoons of fresh chopped mint. Puree with a blender or immersion blender until smooth and serve warm or cold.
Cook up brown rice or quinoa and stir in frozen vegetables for a side dish to grilled chicken or fish or even eat as a quick week night dinner.
Spruce up everyone’s favorite comfort food, macaroni and cheese, by adding some green. Make your favorite boxed mac and cheese (or homemade if you’re feeling a little adventurous), and mix in frozen steamed broccoli.
This frozen yogurt will satisfy your late night ice cream craving without breaking the calorie bank. Combine 3 ½ cups frozen peaches or berries, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy and serve immediately. Stir in mini dark chocolate chunks for an added treat.
Bake up a quick peach or berry crisp that even your guests will love. Mix together two packages of frozen fruit with ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour, and lemon juice. Make the crisp topping by stirring together ¾ cup flour, ¾ cup old fashioned oats, 2/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Add 7 tablespoons of butter until mixture clumps. Transfer fruit mixture to a 9-inch pie dish and sprinkle topping over the fruit. Bake until bubbly and crisp at 375 degrees, about 1 hour.