Wellness

Are Fresh Or Frozen Vegetables Best For Winter Stew?

They're both equally nutritious.
The nutritional difference between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables is nominal. Just eat 'em! 
The nutritional difference between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables is nominal. Just eat 'em! 

The Question: Now that it’s getting cold, I’m making more soups and stews for dinner. Is it healthier to use fresh or frozen produce for these recipes?

Winter is nearly upon us, which means one thing: It’s the season for pies, stews, soups and casseroles.

And that leads to an important question: Should you use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to make your recipes healthier?

“The nutritional content is pretty much the same in frozen versus fresh produce,” Rafael Perez-Escamilla, director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the Yale School of Public Health, told The Huffington Post. “There is no difference.”

In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, nutrition experts found that there was little to no difference in the nutritional content of eight different types of frozen fruits and vegetables. The researchers even discovered that while frozen corn, green beans and blueberries had more vitamin C than fresh version, the opposite held true for fresh peas, which had more riboflavin than frozen peas.

What matters most, Perez-Escamilla says, is how the fruit or vegetable is prepared. Vegetables can lose water soluble vitamins when boiled. Soups are an easy hack around this problem, since you’ll ultimately drink the nutrient-rich broth. Steaming vegetables retains nutrients as well. Grilling is also a safe option, so long as you do not burn the produce.

Fresh produce does have one distinct advantage over frozen, however: It creates a smaller carbon footprint, according to Perez-Escarilla. Freezing fruits and vegetables on the farm and during transit ― and then again at home ― requires a higher energy output. Buying fresh produce is also an opportunity to support local agriculture.

Ultimately, either mode is healthy and a mix of the two is the best option of any. Like everything else, it’s all about balance.

Pass the peas, please.

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