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24
JAN

Broccoli on the Rocks

Filed Under: Health Foods at 9:12 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Frozen VegetablesTruly fresh fruits and vegetables are the produce of paradise. Biting into a tomato straight from the vine is like tasting the fruit for the first time. You never knew it could be so tart or juicy; you never knew it could be so good. You wish you could eat produce like this all the time . . . but you can’t. It’s impossible. The weather limits availability, forcing you to settle for fruits and veggies that have traveled thousands of miles just to get to your grocery store. By the time you use them at home, their flavor has diminished to merely acceptable and their nutritional quality is questionable, varying with their condition. You need a better way to get your daily five to nine, a way that is still brimming with flavor and nutrition. May I suggest frozen?

Frozen produce may not be what you think of when you imagine delectable sides and salads, but it should be.  Processed within hours of harvesting, these fruits and vegetables have no time to lose any flavor or vital vitamins and minerals. The icy temperatures lock in the goodness, making them as close to fresh as you can get during the winter months, and they’ve got a shelf-life that lasts as long as your freezer does. When you’re ready to prepare them, there’s no time consuming chopping or rinsing. Everything’s all set, waiting for a thaw that should only take minutes. It’s easy, tasty and nutritious, so get out to the store and pick up some frozen veggies. But as with everything, be selective.

Look for US Grade A produce. These fruits and vegetables were chosen for their superior tenderness and color. Grade B are slightly older and thus have an inferior taste, while Grade C lack uniformity (they are best used in casseroles or multi-ingredient dishes as side notes). Purchase the products without added sauces or spices. Although tasty, they turn a nutritious food into a sodium, fat and sugar minefield. You can flavor after you’ve cooked, controlling the content and ensuring that the vegetables remain healthy. And buy with abandon. Scoop up all of the green beans, broccoli, berries, corn and assorted produce you can find. It’s one of the best ways to get your fill of fruits and veggies . . . until spring at least.


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