What could be more nutritious than fresh vegetables? Frozen ones, quite possibly.
A new study finds that frozen vegetables, which are usually processed within hours of being harvested, may contain more of certain nutrients than “fresh” vegetables, which may be weeks old by the time they’re consumed. This latest study was funded by Birds-eye, but it’s actually nothing we didn’t already know. According to the USDA, fresh vegetables can lose up to 50% of their nutritional value after just one or two days of room temperature storage or one to two weeks of cold storage.
This is not a nutritional emergency. Even at half strength, vegetables are still among the most nutritious foods you can choose. And many valuable nutrients, such as fiber, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins like E and K, are fairly stable in storage. In other words, the kale that’s been sitting in my fridge since last weekend’s shopping trip is still going to make a great, nutritious side dish for tonight’s dinner.
But the study is a good reminder. Scoring extra-fresh produce from the garden or farmer’s market is a good way to maximize the nutritional value–but eating it promptly is just as important. And if you are stocking up for more than a week or so at a time, frozen veggies may be the best bet for long storage.
See also: Is all processed food bad?