There’s no grocery store aisle I love more… than the frozen foods aisle.
Not because of the TV dinners… or the biscuits… or the… whatevers. But because of the frozen veggies. I’m serious!
I’m not even talking brand name frozen veggies, either. I’m talking the private label stuff. Pick up those store brand Kroger veggies… or Publix veggies… or Albertson’s veggies… whatever, y’all.
A giant bag of fresh spinach? On this date, could run me upwards of $2.50. I can get a container of frozen spinach for $0.87 right now. I’d simply have to forego the spinach salads if my money was tight.
Fresh mushrooms? Cost me approximately $2.79 right now. Frozen? $1.29.
Brussel sprouts? (Yes, Brussel sprouts.) $2.89 fresh. Frozen? $1.49.
Need I go on? Seriously. I’ve already saved about $4 thus far… and y’all know I’m cheap.
My secret go-to dish is always a stir-fry… especially if I can buy a bag of “Japanese stir fry vegetables” with mushrooms, green beans and onions… and all I’ve got to do is make my sauce and add a little sesame oil. C’mon. That’s just too easy.
On the question of whether or not frozen veggies stack up:
…as winter approaches, fresh produce is limited—or expensive—in much of the country, which forces many of us to turn to canned or frozen options. While canned vegetables tend to lose a lot of nutrients during the preservation process (notable exceptions include tomatoes and pumpkin), frozen vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets, says Gene Lester, Ph.D., a plant physiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas. Why? Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when—as a general rule—they are most nutrient-packed.
While the first step of freezing vegetables—blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes—causes some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out, the subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state.
On the other hand, fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce aisles around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Outward signs of ripening may still occur, but these vegetables will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine. In addition, during the long haul from farm to fork, fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to lots of heat and light, which degrade some nutrients, especially delicate vitamins like C and the B vitamin thiamin.
Bottom line: When vegetables are in-season, buy them fresh and ripe. “Off-season,” frozen vegetables will give you a high concentration of nutrients. […] Eat them soon after purchase: over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade. Finally, steam or microwave rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.
For those of us in areas where there is no winter farmer’s market nearby, or no reasonable supply of winter vegetables on sale at inexpensive prices? This is absolutely the next best thing!
Other posts in the series:
- Save Money On Groceries: Buy It In Bulk
- Save Money On Groceries: Buy It In Season
- Save Money On Groceries: Go Weekly
- Save Money On Groceries: Buy The Private Label (Go Generic!)
- Save Money On Groceries: Go Frozen!
- Q&A Wednesday: The $50 Challenge
- Save Money on Groceries: Go… Smaller?
- Save Money On Groceries: The Readers Share Their Tips!
Ummm I was debating on buyind frozen veggies. For this whole year i wanted to eat fresh veggie and meat. I am taking your advice at heart and trying to eliminate processed food from my diet.
I will try this.
Co-sign! As someone who is fighting high blood pressure and cholesterol, I need to be on a low-sodium diet. Buying frozen veggies has been a great way to get sodium-free corn, peas, beans, and other vegetables when I can’t find “no salt added” canned varieties (particularly with beans!).
So true. I was about to purchase a bunch of fruit for a 6 day detox. I needed 9 cups of blueberries to last for the 6 days. thy were on sale for $2.99.. when I got to the frozen section they had a huge bag of 11 cups for $7.99. And here I was getting ready to spend $12.00 ..
Hey Erika. I’ve been a “silent reader” of your blog for a little while now and I absolutely LOVE it! I actually just gave you a “Stylish Blogger” Award on my blog! Definitely don’t feel obligated to repost it if you don’t want to. I was just happy to link my readers to several blogs I think are great; yours being one of them! 🙂
P.S. I am ALL about off-brand frozen veggies! My freezer looks exactly like that aisle in the picture above! Lol!
I live and prosper in the frozen foods aisle! I stay on that aisle more then anything else and have learned to buy the fresh veggies only when they’re in season. Its my main secret to eating clean. A bag of frozen a big stir fry veggies and some brown rice is 3 meals and it takes maybe 10 minutes to cook. Gotta love it! My new new has been frozen fruit cause I can make morning smoothies out of them. Omg don’t let Kroger or Publix have a sale…man you save so much money!
People come over thinking I have no food cause I dont have a cabinet full of processed items but I always tell them check the freezer, I have enough frozen veggies to last a month! I have more food in my house then they have in theirs. Lol.
Frozen veggies are a lot better than canned. Canned veggies have too much salt in them for me.
Oh dear gosh how I miss living near a Kroger’s or a Publix! Everything is so much more expensive in NYC, but I’m still ride or die for the frozen veggie aisle! My fav thing to buy? Frozen bell pepper blends. For some odd reason, bell peppers are so expensive here ( even the green ones are at least 99 cents a pound). If it wasn’t for the frozen blend, I would never have the other colors of peppers.
Frozen veggies rock!
This is in reply to Amber,
I never thought to purchase frozen bell pepper blend. I buy everything else in frozen and alway buy bell peppers fresh and freeze them when I get home. While I am preparing them to frozen I complain again about the purchase price. I totally agree with you on the price of them fresh being high.
I really love your blog. Very well written. And I love how it’s not all just your opinion, but you use sources to back them up. You give great practical advice. Keep up the good work. You’re inspiring a lot of us.
Lately frozen veggies is all I’ve been buying! IMO (in my opinion) you get more for your money without all the extra salt. Recently, I’ve also been buying frozen fruits for smoothies as well. I still buy fresh produce and have freezed some as well (bananas, mangoes, pineapples). Don’t have a Krogers close by, but I do have a Lowes food. Whenever they have a sale on frozen veggies I usually try to stock up!
This article is right on time. I buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and my grocery bill is so high. Now I will turn more to frozen to save some $$ and get more bang for my bucks…lol. I will be able to buy more too.
Frozen will also curb waste, which I hate trying to be more green and environmentally conscious, because I won’t be throwing away fresh items that have gone bad because I did not use them in time.
Erika I’ve prided myself on cooking healthy meals no matter how my work day goes, how bad rush hour is. I’ve been incorporating a lot of your recipes into my day sense I’ve been off for a week and hope to continue to do so. Thank you for all that you do. Blessings always!
I love buying fresh vegetables but they have become so expensive. I love now love buying frozen vegetables. It saves time and money.
yep – my Mother told me this years ago … and its what I buy the most of. Perfect for my “fast food”….steaming frozen fish and veggies in the microwave. Seven minutes later…a delicious “fast food” meal.
Frozen has been the best choice for me when it comes to work. I like to have veggies for my snacks and it’s easier for me to have a freezer full of veggies where I can just pop the entire bag in the microwave at work and eat in two servings (morning and afternoon snack)
recently discovered frozen veggies as well. Housemate made a snarky comment about me wasting money on buying eating so many vegetables, and what do you know, she was right! So I save more by going frozen
Awesome: throw them in a pan, cover and leave for five minutes,and voila!
I just chop up fresh veggies when they are on sale and freeze them myself. I do it the same day. I purchase and just freeze individual serving sizes as well as larger bags for meals. It will save you even more money on these things. I am a PhD student with a daughter to feed so money is really tight. For 0.99 I can often get several pounds of veggies and with dollar store Ziploc bags on top of that I get much more bang for my buck then buying pre frozen. Plus I know exactly what is going in the bag.
I HIGHLY recommend a CHAMBER vacuum sealer (with much-cheaper-than-foodsavor pouches!) to portion SENSIBLE portion sizes, an investment that’ll pay off in a few months. Then a sous vide immersion circulator to greatly simplify meal prep. Frozen bags of chicken & turkey for less than $2/#, frozen veggies for a bit more than $1/# … all spells out entire meals that can cost as little as a buck or 2. It’s a new diet for life for me … and it makes fast food joints look far less attractive because my meals taste better and are TONS cheaper!
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