Friday, June 15, 2012

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables can be not only a last minute dinner saver, but they can be an extremely frugal & nutritious option to fresh produce.  

When vegetables are in-season, buy them fresh and ripe. “Off-season,” frozen vegetables will give you a high concentration of nutrients. 

Selecting Frozen Vegetables

Choose packages marked with a USDA “U.S. Fancy” shield, which designates produce of the best size, shape and color; vegetables of this standard also tend to be more nutrient-rich than the lower grades “U.S. No. 1” or “U.S. No. 2.” 

Look for varieties without added seasonings, salt, fat, or sauces.

Avoid packages that are torn, thawed, water stained, or have expired use-by dates.

Peak Season Storage

Frozen vegetables are available year-round and make great substitutions for fresh varieties that are not in season.

Store vegetables in the freezer for up to eight months or until the use-by date. Once the package has been opened , tightly seal the remaining vegetables to avoid freezer burn.

Serving Ideas

Eat them soon after purchase: over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade.  Steam or microwave rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

Stir-fry a bag of mixed frozen vegetables and serve with chicken and brown rice for a fast dinner.

Scramble eggs with your favorite frozen vegetables for an easy, tasty and healthy breakfast.

What is in it for you?

The freezing process locks in nutrients soon after harvest. As a result, frozen vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh vegetables.

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