You may have hated vegetables as a kid because of their taste, but we’d bet the only reason you have to hate them now is that they can be pretty pricey at the grocery store. Turns out, science may have a solution for you.
According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, certain frozen veggies and fruits may actually retain nutrients better than their "fresh" counterparts.
"Our research shows that frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally equal to—and, in some cases, better than—their fresh-stored counterparts," Dr. Ronald Pegg, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement. "In particular, Vitamin A was greater in frozen fruits and vegetables than select fresh-stored fruits and vegetables."
The study measured the nutrient levels of blueberries, strawberries, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, green peas, and spinach on the day of purchase, five days after being stored in the refrigerator, and from frozen. The University of Georgia researchers found that fresh produce tended to lose more vitamins over time during refrigerated storage than frozen produce.
Generally, the fact that the amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folates of most frozen fruits and vegetables didn’t significantly differ by much from fresh-stored produce goes to show you that frozen foods are not nutritionally inferior to their fresh counterparts.
How can frozen foods be just as nutritious as fresh? It’s thanks to a technique called fresh freezing. "Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked and frozen at their peak ripeness, locking in the nutrient value at the point of freezing," said Frozen Food Foundation President Alison Bodor in the same press statement. Other experts have noted that the formation of ice crystals within produce may actually pierce cell walls, allowing more antioxidants and nutrients to become more bioavailable.
Now that we know frozen produce can stand up to its fresh counterpart, we went ahead and found out exactly how much money you could save if you did your shopping in the freezer aisle. Check it out below!
Note: Prices may vary based on location. All prices provided were pulled from Instacart—an online grocery delivery service—for a Manhattan zip code.
As you can see, you could save nearly $40 a month—just on spinach alone—if you switched over to the frozen version.
Of course, if you’re trying to make a spinach salad, it will certainly influence your decision to buy fresh spinach over frozen. That being said, you may reconsider the temperature of your produce if you use spinach in foods like smoothies, stuffed shells, soups, and omelets. And while frozen produce should definitely be on your next grocery list, make sure these The 67 Worst Frozen Foods in America aren't.