Are frozen and canned fruits and vegetables healthy?

Canned fruits and vegetables are healthy and cost effective.

Living in the frozen tundra of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the growing season for fresh fruits and vegetables is extremely short. Many local gardeners have a golden palate for the fresh taste of their home grown vegetables but as the leaves begin to change color and the days begin to get shorter so does the gardener’s joy of growing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s almost disheartening to see them have to cope with the change of eating produce from other states offered in supermarkets nonetheless.

The gardeners and avid berry hunters of the Upper Peninsula are required to can, pickle, and store as much food as possible with snow approaching and gardens becoming a distant memory.

Fortunately, in this day of flash freezing and convenient canning, we don’t have to worry about not storing enough fruits and vegetables to survive long harsh winters. We can turn to the local supermarket’s frozen and canned food section to find healthy options to get us through the winter or any time we’re looking for an item that isn’t possible to grow in our local gardens.

We are consistently inundated with the message of Americans not eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Canned and frozen vegetables are an option for the individual or family that does not have time to prepare fruits and vegetables and may not have the financial resources to pay for fresh produce.

Canning vegetables can add to the phytochemicals as in canned tomatoes and tomato sauces. In an article in Fruits and Veggies More Matters, a research study from Michigan State University Extension found that canned fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh or frozen. In fact, the fiber found in legumes becomes more soluble during canning making canned beans more beneficial for the human body.

Advice when it comes to buying canned fruits and vegetables:

  • Only its own juice- Fruits need to be packed in its own juice or water, never buy fruits in syrup.
  • Watch out for the salt- Buy vegetables with ‘reduced sodium’ or ‘no salt added’.
  • Use quickly after opening- To get the most out of your canned vegetables, use soon after opening to get the most nutrients from your fruits or vegetables.

Advice for purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables:

  • Go with plain- When buying frozen fruits and vegetables only buy the plain vegetables and fruit. With added sauces come unwanted fat and calories which could lead to weight gain.
  • Check the Label- Frozen fruit can be frozen in unsweetened and sweetened varieties. The label will reveal any added sugars so make sure the fruit is in its own juice.

Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables offer everyone looking for a quick and cost effective alternative to fresh produce. In any instance, Americans need to eat a diet more inclusive of fruits and vegetables. Canned and frozen produce is a healthy option as long as labels are read. It’s great for all of us to have these options during cold winter months or with busy schedules. Now we know that making chili out of cans of beans and vegetables is a healthy option that only takes a matter of minutes. Now is a great time to start stocking our cupboards and freezers with frozen and canned fruits and veggies to be prepared for winter since it may come early in the Upper Peninsula.

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