[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e all know how it feels to open your fridge on a weeknight, ready to make dinner, only to discover that you only have a random assortment of groceries left, nothing pointing to an actual meal. Experiencing this enough times was what finally led me to start buying frozen food to have on hand. I was raised with the strong belief that fresher is always better, and it was with reluctance that I gave in to the convenience of prepackaged, frozen veggies, and more specifically, frozen peas.
Believe me, I love nothing more than perusing the Saturday morning farmer's market and making a meal from fresh produce after meeting the farmers who grew it. However, this isn't always realistic, and in the end, it's more important to find a way to fit health and cooking into your everyday life.
Frozen Peas Are Better Than Fresh
I recently discovered that not only are they more convenient in a pinch, but frozen peas are also actually better than fresh peas for a multitude of reasons. For one, they are budget-friendly, a perk that can never be overlooked when it comes to groceries. One frozen bag of green peas can go a long way! I'm usually able to make a few different meals before I need to restock. It's also important to take coronavirus into account; the fewer trips to the grocery store during covid, the better.
Also, having frozen vegetables helps cut down on food waste, one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases. Frozen produce has an extremely long shelf life, always an important consideration in the dialog of fresh vs frozen fruit. Therefore, although it feels counterintuitive, it's actually more sustainable in some ways to buy frozen veggies than to buy fresh vegetables locally from the farmer's market.
Another perk of frozen peas that makes them preferable to their fresh counterparts is that freezing them actually preserves their texture and sweetness. Along with many other frozen fruits and vegetables, peas are harvested and frozen at the peak of ripeness.
This ensures that they stay in this deliciously sweet state right until they enter your belly! It also helps their texture, because fresh peas can quickly become starchy, losing their tender texture.
Health Benefits of Frozen Peas
Along with being delicious, sustainable and budget-friendly, many frozen produce options like peas, green beans and corn are healthy and packed full of nutritional value. While blanching is part of the freezing process for some frozen vegetables and canned vegetables, frozen peas are flash-frozen and therefore are equally nutritious after being frozen. Peas are known for being an excellent source of vitamin c, vitamin a, b vitamins, calcium, and antioxidants, and these health benefits do not diminish with freezing.
Lastly, peas are a popular choice for weight loss or those hoping to cut down on cholesterol. They may have a high number of carbohydrates, but they are perfect for snacking, because of their nutrient content, good source of folate, and ability to fill the stomach.
So, the next time you find yourself in the frozen food aisle, think about reaching for those frozen peas! Your body, budget and the environment will thank you.
If you're unsure what to do with them, here are few tasty, pea-friendly recipes to try!
Green Garlic and Pea Soup with Whipped Cream