Take a look around next time you are picking up some ice cream
When you are looking for ways to keep fruits and veggies on hand, sometimes fresh isn't always an option. Whether the thing you want is out of season or you just aren't sure when you will get around to using it, canned and frozen are simple ways to always have a healthy option on hand. But, we're here to tell you if you are between the two you should start choosing frozen - every time.
Why? The packaging matters! While you are getting used to us telling you that plastic is bad and to avoid it at any cost, this is one of the exceptions. While plastic is often linked to negative health effects, there are times when it can be used safely. Frozen foods is one of them. This is both because of the type of plastic used, and because they are being used in cold settings and never heated.
Often, the plastic used for frozen fruits and vegetables is either #1, #2, or #5. Plastics marked with #2 and #5 are generally deemed safe in terms of heath, and plastic marked #1 is on the safer side of the spectrum, especially if it's not heated (1).
You are probably asking why "safer plastic" is better than canned foods, which aren't made of plastic at all. Well, it's because almost all cans for foods are lined with BPA or something else that is bad for you too. (Yes, there are a few brands that have found a way to can foods without BPA or it's replacements- like Eden- but not many.) And, over time as the cans sit on the shelf, the food inside start to absorb some of the BPA. That means, when we go to eat it, we are also getting a nice dose of BPA. That's not a great thing. We talk more about what the heck BPA is and how it affects our health in another article. Ten points for frozen.
Besides the packaging, the nutritional value of the food is often better in frozen options. Both frozen and canned foods are packed quickly after being picked, sometimes faster than fresh options can make it to the store, but frozen foods very rarely have the added salt or sugar common to canned foods. Additionally, it can be a cost effective way for choosing organic. And … the points goes to frozen!
So, while both frozen and canned add convenience, frozen is the better option. One of our favorite blogs, the Kitchn has excellent recipe ideas and tips for making delicious non soggy veggies from the freezer. Start making more room in your freezer instead of on your shelves.