It’s a fact that most people don’t eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as they should. While you try to keep your fridge and fruit bowl brimming with fresh produce options, don’t forget about your freezer. It’s one of the best places to stash frozen fruits and vegetables, which can have bountiful nutritional value, like their fresh counterparts.
Whether you can’t find your favorites fresh because they’re out of season or they’re too expensive, try looking for these seven frozen fruits and veggies to stock in your freezer instead.
When broccoli is on your shopping list, but a fresh crown is $3, head to the freezer section. Broccoli when frozen retains its nutrients, losing less ascorbic acid in your freezer than it does when waiting for you in your fridge. Steam it for a quick side dish, make stir-fry, or top it on a fresh-made pizza. Soups, frittatas, and pasta dishes are other great ways to use frozen broccoli. Frozen broccoli would work great for my Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli recipe.
They’re not just a handy icepack when you have a bruise or sprain. Frozen peas are a fantastic addition to your meals and far easier to work with than fresh peas. They still retain their initial nutrients, too, hosting more beta-carotene than fresh or canned versions. Steam or thaw them first before you add them to your dishes. They go great in a brown rice bowl, are perfect for salads and pasta, and make a great soup with peas thrown in.
Fresh spinach takes time to wash. In the freezer, it’s ready to go and even has more beta-carotene than raw spinach. It’s an easy side dish for a busy night all on its own, but feel free to get creative with soups, pasta, curries, dips, or even on top of white pizza.
4. Organic Berries
Berries are marvelous super-fruits, but they are always ranked as the dirtiest by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) the group responsible for creating the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. Organic is best, but buying them fresh can really add up. When you purchase organic berries frozen, though, you can have the best of both worlds. Buy a mix or buy one type of organic berry, and you can make wonderful smoothies, top off your coconut yogurt, or use them in healthy desserts.
Peaches still retain phenolic compounds when frozen, and they still taste just as amazing. Thaw them out to put on your coconut yogurt, puree into a healthy pudding, or add to salads with walnuts and goat cheese.
Although carrots are usually plentiful and inexpensive, they can be more nutritious than fresh carrots. They store so well, too, that if you have a crazy week and have no veggies on hand, you’ll have carrots ready for a side dish.
7. Bell Peppers
There are more vitamin C and antioxidants in frozen bell peppers. Plus, they can be used to make a stir-fry or fajitas in a pinch, no slicing and dicing required.
With these frozen produce items on hand, you’ll always have access to making healthy and nutritious meals, even when your fridge and cabinets are going bare.