You Should Buy These Vegetables and Fruit Frozen All Year

Yes, even in summer.

There are very few things as frustrating as grabbing fresh berries or leafy greens from the store, or ordering a batch on Instacart, only to find that your produce is moldy or not ripe enough to eat for days. You can lose loads of money if it happens often.

But, you can fix the issue by always buying a few staple fruits and vegetables frozen instead of fresh. This will help guarantee great taste and texture, especially when they're not in season — but also year round.

"Frozen fruits and veggies can be an economical and super-nutritious option, and in some cases, frozen options are even more nutritious than fresh," says dietitian Lauren Manaker, MS, RD.

According to a study published in the Journal of Food Science, when compared with fresh produce, certain frozen produce options actually had more antioxidants, like phenols and beta-carotene (which gives orange and yellow fruits and veggies their golden hue), as well as vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system as well as overall health.

Here are a few fruits and vegetables that dietitians recommend buying frozen (always or at least for the most part!) since they are packed with nutrition and are accessible throughout the year.

Bunch of frozen berry fruit background pattern
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1. Spinach

Leafy greens are rich sources of iron, fiber, and even some plant protein, and greens will help you fill up fast and reach needed intake of micronutritions and vitamins, too.

Frozen spinach can be added to a slew of dishes to help boost their nutrition without much effort. "After defrosting and draining frozen spinach, it can be added to casseroles, soups, sauces, and more," says Manaker. The same goes for other leafy greens, like kale or Swiss chard, for example.

2. Broccoli

Frozen broccoli is always good to keep on hand when you need to bulk up the filling fiber in a dish, like a weeknight stir-fry, soup, or egg-based breakfast, for example. The same goes for when you order in from a restaurant and want to include some veggies from home.

"When enjoying a takeout night, adding extra broccoli that is frozen is super simple," says Manaker. Ordering beef and broccoli? Add extra broccoli simply by nuking your frozen option in the microwave and mixing it into your dish. And if your go-to takeout order lacks veggies overall, then those broccoli florets will surely be a needed element to provide adequate nutrients.

3. Peas

"Frozen peas check a ton of nutrition boxes and can give your dinner some healthy carbs, fiber, and other nutrients," says Manaker. The carbohydrates in peas are fiber based, so you will stay fuller longer, as opposed to refined carbs (think: white bread) which are digested quickly and don't offer satiety.

For a quick boost of nutrition, simply heat frozen peas, and use them in soups, salads, breakfast burritos, omelets, and more. Or toss with brown rice to use as a base for leftovers, like stir-fry or an egg or tofu scramble.

4. Cauliflower

Cauliflower has certainly been a trendy pick for lots of diets and eating styles of late, but instead of spending your time making a cauliflower rice or mash from fresh cauliflower, you can simply get it already prepared for a handy meal prep hack that'll save you time in the kitchen.

"Frozen riced cauliflower is a great food to keep in your freezer for cauliflower rice, and it's high in fiber to fill you up," says Manaker.

Plus, it's a good substitute for those looking to cut back on meat and increase their plant intake, and it even has a pretty decent amount of protein for a veggie. Just add in another protein source for a full meal.

5. Wild Blueberries

"Wild blueberries are much easier to find frozen since they're so delicate," says dietitian Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. They're smaller than traditional blueberries, but also even higher in antioxidants.

You can retain antioxidants in fruits and vegetables when you preserve and freeze them quickly after picking, Jones explains, so you're actually getting more nutritional bang for your buck by opting for frozen over fresh.

Plus, blueberries, both wild and traditional, are often unripe throughout the year (summer is peak season), so this way you can enjoy them year round in smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal bowls, in salads, and more.

Try This: Frozen Blueberry Crisp

6. Cherries

Cherries are great to buy frozen, as you can enjoy them year round since they are often not available at the grocery store in chillier months.

"Fresh cherry season is so short, but you can take advantage of the antioxidants that support your brain and muscles year round by adding frozen cherries to oatmeal, muffin recipes, and smoothies," says Jones.

That tart and sweet combination is delicious, but what's more, studies show that tart cherries are also great for muscle recovery, so whip up a cherry smoothie or juice post-workout to repair damaged muscles ASAP.

7. Mango

A ripe mango is near fruit perfection, but finding the perfect mango is challenging when not in season. They can be hard, tough to bite into, and lackluster in flavor. Plus, "cutting them is a pain," adds Jones, so you're better off buying them already chopped and ready, whether in fresh or frozen form.

Yet, "you can get the flavor and nutrients easily when purchasing frozen over fresh anytime and can use mango in smoothies and sorbets or even just eat it piece by piece for a sweet snack," Jones says. Mango offers a good dose of both vitamin A and C to boost your immunity and protect your skin, eye, and heart health.

8. Raspberries

Raspberries taste great fresh, but they are super pricey (much like other berries). You don't need to sacrifice your wallet or taste buds by going the fresh route, however.

"Raspberries are much more economical when purchased frozen since they're such a delicate fruit to process for shipping," Jones says. "Most people have bought a package of fresh raspberries only to be disappointed that half are mushy." And that's a huge waste of money. Plus, if they manage to not be mushy, you have that pressure of eating them quickly to prevent spoilage (they have a pretty short shelf-life in the fridge still).

"The freezing process happens within hours of harvest, so it aids in maintaining taste, texture and nutrient density," Jones says. Enjoy raspberries year round in your diet, as they are high in fiber to boost gut health and satiety, as well as heart-healthy antioxidants to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease.

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