You can find almost any vegetable in your grocer's freezer aisle. While many people turn their noses up at frozen veggies, we investigate the differences between frozen and fresh, and are surprised at what we find out!
Frozen vegetables are available plain or prepared in various sauces. Keep in mind that sauces may reduce nutritional quality, and increase calories.
While many people assume buying fresh vegetables is healthiest, our nutrition expert says frozen can be healthier! Frozen veggies that are picked and processed at the peak of ripeness, resulting in better mineral and vitamin retention.
Fresh veggies sometimes sit in transport boxes for 2-4 weeks and lose all their valuable nutrients between the farm and the grocery store.
The key to choosing the best frozen veggies is to look for Individually Quick Frozen (IQF). This means each individual piece is frozen quickly (within 2 hours of being picked for best results) to lock in nutrients, texture and colour. IQF is the key to locking in freshness.
- Buy frozen vegetables in the winter when fresh aren’t in season locally. You’ll save money and get more nutrients than from the fresh ones that have likely travelled far from their origin.
- Take care not to choose a bag that was thawed and then re-frozen. Refrozen bags have ice crystals on the outside and you can feel larger chunks of veggies inside. They’re safe to eat but won’t taste as good.
We blind taste-tested these brands of frozen broccoli to see which had the most flavour:
- Safeway Select: $2.65 per 500 g
- Champlain Valley Farms (organic): $3.69 per 300 g
- SteamEase by Omstead (steam in bag): $3.99 per 500 g
SteamEase turned out kind of mushy and unappetizing.
Champlain Valley’s organic broccoli was tasty, sweet, and crisp.
The Safeway Select broccoli had the most pleasing taste of the three.
Fresh vs. Frozen Test
We decided to put our frozen winner up against fresh steamed broccoli:
- The fresh was good, but surprisingly, not much better than frozen!
OUR TOP PICK
Safeway Select brand broccoli had the sweetest taste and best texture of the frozen products we tested. Plus, we were impressed how well it compared to the fresh broccoli.