Following a plant-based diet means that you will be eating a lot of vegetables. But, buying vegetables is not as straightforward as it used to be. Grocery stores have grown in size and so has the selection. But, should you go down the frozen aisle or the produce section? Let’s take a look at cost, nutrition, convenience and taste to see which is better: frozen or fresh vegetables?
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables: which is cheaper?
Frozen vegetables are often offered as a budget-friendly alternative to fresh vegetables. It turns out that while some frozen vegetables are cheaper, others are actually more expensive than fresh vegetables. But the cost of fresh vegetables will fluctuate too depending on the season and where you live. Fresh vegetables might be more expensive than frozen vegetables in the winter; but they might also be cheaper in the summer. So…overall, it’s a tie!
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables Score: 1 vs 1
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables: Which Has More Nutrients?
Vegetables get their nutrients from the soil. This means the longer they stay in the ground, the more nutrients they have. The fresh vegetables we find in the grocery store are actually harvested before they are ripe so that they can ripen on the way to the store.
Meanwhile, frozen vegetables are picked when ripe, meaning they have more time in the soil and absorb more nutrients.
Fresh produce also starts losing their nutrients as soon as they’re harvested. They continue to lose nutrients while in the fridge. In fact, one study found that some frozen vegetables had more nutrients than fresh vegetables that had been stored in the fridge for 5 days. But overall, the study found no significant differences in vitamin content.
What does this all mean? It means that if you have your own vegetable garden, fresh is definitely the way to go. But if you buy vegetables once a week, there’s not much difference between fresh and frozen vegetables when it comes to nutrients. So again, it’s a tie.
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables Score: 2 vs 2
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables: Which is More Convenient?
At first glance, you might think “well, of course, frozen vegetables are more convenient”. After all, frozen vegetables are already cut and blanched. But not so fast – fresh vegetables come in a wide variety now too. There are prewashed salad mixes, stir-fry kits, precut vegetables, and even spiralized vegetables. They are all ready to be added into your meal with minimal effort.
But when we’re talking about convenience, we also have to talk about shelf life. Frozen vegetables will last for months while fresh vegetables will only last in the crisper for days. So in terms of overall convenience, frozen vegetables beat fresh.
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables Score: 3 vs 2
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables: Which Tastes Better?
This might be the most important factor when trying to decide which kind of vegetables is better. Although frozen vegetables have improved a lot in texture over the years, the act of freezing damages the vegetable cells. This results in the well-known soft texture of frozen vegetables.
The texture of frozen vegetables gets better when we remember that they’re already partially cooked. So when you’re preparing them for a meal, they only need a quick steam or pan-fry without defrosting first. Roasting is a great way to get rid of the extra water too.
But in the end, no matter what you do to the frozen vegetables, it just doesn’t match the taste of fresh vegetables. The clear winner is fresh vegetables when it comes to taste.
Frozen vs Fresh Vegetables Final Score: 3 vs 3
|Frozen Vegetables||Fresh Vegetables|
Do you agree with our final score? Which do you prefer – frozen or fresh vegetables? Let us know in the comments below!
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