Fresh is best, but when you’re strapped for cash or want to stock up, frozen fruits and vegetables are a helpful and healthy option. Unlike canned produce, which is processed and may contain added ingredients (i.e. sugar or artificial sweeteners, salt, MSG—yuck!), the stuff you find in the freezer section is picked, blanched and flash frozen—locking in both essential nutrients and ripe-from-the-vine flavor.
Besides boiling to cook and serving as a ho-hum side dish, frozen veggies and fruits can be prepped and jazzed up a number of ways:
Sprinkle on spices – Try garlic salt on broccoli, curry powder and cilantro on carrots or mint and parsley mixed with peas. Herbs and spices are an easy way to go from bland to brilliant with ordinary frozen vegetables.
Top a salad – Soggy, cooked veggies on salad? Not quite. Make them tender-crisp by steaming lightly, then dousing with ice-cold water. Green beans, baby peas, carrots and cauliflower are all texture-iffic prepared this way.
Bake a pie – Trim time when baking a pie by using frozen fruit instead of fresh (no washing or chopping required!). You don’t have to thaw the fruit, but be sure to double the amount of thickener (cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca powder) called for in your recipe.
Blend into smoothies – Ice cubes are so overrated! Instead, toss frozen berries into your blender along with non-dairy milk and your favorite smoothie ingredients for a frosty, fruity drink.
Simmer a syrup – Top pancakes or frozen desserts with homemade fruit syrup. Just simmer frozen fruit in a small amount of orange juice with a pinch of cornstarch until it thickens. Let cool and drizzle it on!
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is the Editor-in-Chief of TheHealthyApple.com; she is a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and Writer specializing in simple gluten-free and dairy-free ‘Clean’ recipes using whole foods. Amie recently healed herself from six years of chronic pain, exhausting every doctor in the country and Mayo Clinic; she shares her story of how Clean Eating saved her life and inspires you to Clean up your food, too. Amie lives in Manhattan, NYC where she cooks for a variety of clients including celebrities and people with busy lifestyles who enjoy healthy, fresh food. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; she’d love to hear from you!