Freeze your veggies and fruits for nutritious produce all winter
Frozen food jokes: "You know what I do when I get scared by frozen food? Ice cream!" And ... "I made the mistake of biting into some half-frozen food. Then I realized doing that wasn't very well thawed out."
Amusing, but freezing veggies and fruit is no joke. It's smart. Vegetables lose 15% to 77% of their vitamin C within a week of harvest, according to a paper in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Fruits lose their C too. A wide range of other important nutrients also disappear from most produce somewhere between being picked, shipped, distributed, put on grocery store shelves and kept in your fridge.
In contrast, studies show that most well-frozen fruit and vegetables have little change in nutrient content. Even fresh spinach loses only 30% of its vitamin C after 12 months if it's frozen to -4 F. This time of year you may find local (that's key) corn, beets, cauliflower, beans, Brussels sprouts, turnips, celeriac, spinach, Jerusalem artichokes and pumpkin, as well as persimmons, cranberries, chestnuts, apples, blackberries, pears, plums and grapes.
How-to: Wash and dry whole berries or fruit slices and spread on a sheet pan so they are not touching. Put them in the freezer until hard. For veggies like beans or broccoli, wash, trim and blanch in boiling water, dry with paper towels and chill in the fridge. Then put fruit and vegetables in plastic bags; extract all air and seal tightly to avoid freezer burn. (Try the straw technique explained at thekitchn.com; search for "Hacks for Vacuum-Sealing.") Enjoy all winter.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.