By Michelle Spano
When we think of the produce aisle, fresh greens, sweet berries, and juicy peaches may come to mind. Unfortunately, in the dead of winter, these options are sometimes unavailable, double the price, or lack their full flavor potential. While eating in-season produce follows a more natural way of eating, you do not have to forego your favorite fruits and vegetables once their season has passed. Enter: frozen produce.
Frozen fruits and vegetables go beyond the bland peas and carrots combo. You can find a wide variety of options frozen at their peak, with their flavor and nutrients left intact. Another upside of shopping the frozen aisle? The prep work is virtually done for you. You can use that time you saved scanning through Pinterest for the best recipes to utilize those frozen finds.
Unlike fresh produce, you can buy frozen in bulk (bonus points if there is a sale) without worrying about it spoiling and thus wasting more money. This ensures that you always have healthy ingredients on hand to whip up quick meals in a pinch. You will be extra grateful to not have to leave the house on blistery cold winter days when you realize you have options right in your freezer.
It is worth noting that some frozen fruits and vegetables are not the perfect replacement for their raw counterparts; for example, thawed frozen spinach will not work in a fresh salad. Soups, stir fries, casseroles, and even smoothies usually work perfectly with frozen alternatives.
Next time you are in the grocery store, chill out in the frozen aisle and stock up on some frozen options—you will not regret it!
Tip: If in-season produce is cheaper than the frozen version (it happens!), or you want to buy fresh for now but freeze later, you can. Wash and dry thoroughly, cut off any stems, and freeze spread out on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. With this method, each piece freezes separately and will not clump together in a frozen mass.