Consumer Reports tests frozen vegetables for taste, nutrition

Study shows frozen food can be as nutritious as fresh food

SAN ANTONIO – If you aren't eating your peas and carrots and getting the recommended two to three cups of veggies a day, you might want to take a stroll through the frozen food aisle. There are lots of new choices that make getting your veggies more convenient and interesting than ever.

Consumer Reports’ experts tested 31 varieties of frozen vegetables to see which ones are not only best for you but the best-tasting. Three topped the list and are Consumer Reports best buys.

Green Giant Riced Veggies Cauliflower Risotto Medley features small bits of cauliflower that are slightly chewy, like rice, along with asparagus and mushrooms. It costs about 88 cents a serving.

Spiral veggies are a new trend. Trader Joe’s Carrot Spirals have a little sea salt and not much else to get in the way of the flavor. They cost 75 cents a serving.

Another very good pick, according to Consumer Reports, is Birds Eye Steamfresh Protein Blends California Style. The mix of veggies, lentils and grains makes this an excellent source of fiber: One cup packs 12 grams of protein.

Although Green Giant had several combos at the top of the list, their roasted vegetables did not impress.

“Roasting can deepen the flavor and increase the complexity of a vegetable, and even add some crisp texture,” said Consumer Reports’ Amy Keating. “Unfortunately, the testers did not taste any of that in these vegetables.”

Three Green Giant roasted vegetables — the broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts — were unimpressive. Tasters noted an unappealing, ashy flavor for all three. The broccoli was called “waterlogged,” and the Brussels sprouts were very soft, with no roasted flavors, landing these veggies at the bottom of the list.

Not only can these prepared frozen vegetables save you lots of prep time, but in a recent study at the University of California, Davis showed that compared to fresh options, flash-frozen vegetables were just as nutritious.

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