At this point in our relationship, y’all know that I love me some fresh veggies. Perusing the farmer’s markets in the Spring and Summer, coming home with so much produce that I (literally) run out of places to store it all. Living up in the mountains, however, it’s not always easy to get year-round fresh produce. I’ve tried canning but still haven’t mastered it yet. I like to dehydrate as well but until I get a bigger dehydrator, it seems to be a lot of work for little bounty. In the end my go-to resource is always freezing.
I’ve actually talked about this on the blog quite often, but when it comes to eating out of season, I prefer frozen foods over fresh. Think about it: When you grow it naturally, pick it and freeze it immediately, you capture a lot more of the nutrients than if you’re growing it out of season, shipping it across the country, storing it in between.. you get the idea.
The University of California, Davis, in partnership with the Frozen Food Foundation, conducted a study that revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables are most often (or generally) nutritionally equal to – and in some cases better than – their fresh counterparts. For the study each fruit and vegetable was analyzed under the following conditions: frozen (analyzed within 24 hours of harvest and after 10 and 90 days of storage in a freezer) and fresh-stored (analyzed within 24 hours of harvest and after three and 10 days of storage in a refrigerator). (You can read more about these studies by following the Frozen Food Foundation Facebook or Frozen Food Foundation Twitter)
Since we love to add veggies to just about anything and everything, I love keeping the freezer packed full. Now that it’s cold outside and our fresh options are limited, it’s easy to throw together some delicious comfort foods like this Smoky Potato and Corn Soup!
One of my secret ingredients for this is my new secret ingredient, “Applewood Smoked Sea Salt”. I’m kind of obsessed. You can still make this recipe without the gourmet salt, though, because this recipe is packed full of other delicious ingredients like smoked paprika and gouda cheese.
Did you know that nearly 80 percent of Americans fail to consume the recommended amounts of fruit, with nearly 90 percent failing to meet dietary recommendations for vegetables? They’re major contributors of essential nutrients in our diets, and consuming fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Given the increase in the rates of chronic diseases among all age groups, eating a diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is more important than ever. So next time you’re in the mood for some comforting soup, try throwing in a few extra goodies like corn, broccoli, carrots, peas.. really, the sky is the limit!