Frozen Vegetables: Is Thawing Okay For Nutrient Retention?

frozen vegetables - cook for your life

Many people are concerned about getting the most nutrients from their food – and rightly so. Vegetables are chockful of nutrients so it’s important to get your daily dose, but how do we best preserve these essential vitamins and minerals in the storage and cooking process?

As soon as produce is harvested, it starts losing nutrients.  But don’t despair, there are still plenty of nutrients left if you follow a few rules. 

  • When shopping at the market, try to buy produce that is fresh and vibrant (no drooping, wilted kale please).
  • Once home, cook the veggies as soon as you can.
  • Lastly, if you’re going to freeze your leftovers, do it soon after cooking. The freezing will slow down (but not stop) the loss of nutrients. Always date your freezer packs and use them within two to three months.

If you are cooking your vegetables in a liquid, you will lose water-soluble nutrients, such as the B vitamins and vitamin C. In that case, we suggest that you save the liquid . It adds great flavor to soups, stews, and even grains like rice (when used at the cooking liquid).

As for using the frozen veggies, keep in mind the time element and try to use them as quickly as possible once you remove them from the freezer.

Small foods like peas and soft foods like spinach can be used straight from frozen even in quick-cooking dishes like stir-fries. But larger vegetables like broccoli may have to defrost them before adding to your dish.

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, and videos are reviewed by our oncology-trained dietitians to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society

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