Fact or Myth: Fresh Is Better Than Frozen

This is a MYTH.

Canned food is definitely leached of nutrients during the preservation process (although canned tomatoes and pumpkin fare fairly well), but it’s time to put to rest the myth that fresh is better than frozen. Experts say fresh is not necessarily better than frozen, depending on whether produce is in-season and local, or off-season and shipped.

refridgeratorWhy Frozen Sometimes Trumps Fresh

Buying fresh local fruits and vegetables is the first choice in nutrient-rich produce. But off-season fresh fruit and vegetables that are shipped to markets and health-food stores are actually less nutritious than frozen produce. That’s because “fresh” fruit is picked before it has fully ripened on the vine, and therefore never reaches its full nutritive composition of vitamins and phytonutrients. It then travels for days—exposed to heat and light—and loses more and more nutrients before it even makes it to the supermarket!

Frozen produce, on the other hand, is picked at its peak ripeness, when it is at its most nutrient-dense. Once picked, it is blanched in hot water, which does degrade some of the water-soluble vitamins, like vitamins C and B, but then undergoes a flash-freeze that preserves the produce in its nutrient-packed state. Of course, don’t keep frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer for months on end, as nutrients can start to degrade after several months.

The verdict: buy fresh in-season fruit and vegetables from your local farmers market or health food store whenever available…and in the off-season, take a stroll down the frozen produce aisle!