I've been told that frozen vegetables are frozen soon after harvest and as such don't get sprayed with as much preservatives. I'm also told fresh vegetables are sprayed with extra preservatives so they'll look better in the store.

I tested the waters with this claim once with a biology grad student (although she dealt with spiders stealing things). She seemed to agree with the claim while noting that vitamines in food are destroyed or diminished when frozen.

Is it true that frozen vegetables are healthier than fresh ones to eat, for the reasons mentioned above?

New Oxford American Dictionary:

Fresh: (of food) recently made or obtained; not canned, frozen, or otherwise preserved

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    Your definition of fresh seems different from mine. Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 20:28
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    @dancek - english.stackexchange.com/q/21966/6190 I thought you might be right and asked over on english.SE, but it seems like my way of using fresh is perfectly alright. The important thing seem to be when the vegetables were obtained and not when they were harvested.
    – Kit Sunde
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 20:58
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    you do wash your veggies before eating them? If so anything sprayed on them should be washed away. Freezing of course does kill or slow the reproduction of bacteria, so you're less likely to get rotting veggies if you leave them too long, but other than that I don't see where you're going.
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 6:48
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    @jwenting - I'm not convinced washing vegetables would remove all preservatives, but I could be convinced if you have any proof. In any event I'm of course asking about normal operating procedures when preparing food, and I believe just about everyone washes their produce before cooking.
    – Kit Sunde
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 6:59
  • Ok. English is a second language to me. I just thought I'd point out the observation, so you can specify. :) Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


Most commentators believe that frozen vegetables (especially peas) are better and have more vitamins than "fresh" vegetables picked more than a day earlier, and much better than canned vegetables which are cooked as part of the canning process.

This article quotes from Deutsches Tiefkuhlinstitut

Quantity of Vitamin C         (mg/100g)*

Freshly picked peas                 22.1
Fresh peas (after 2 days)           14.1
Frozen peas                         20.2

Freshly picked spinach           17.0
Fresh spinach (after 2 days)         4.1
Frozen spinach                   14.0

Freshly picked french beans         16.4
Fresh french beans (after 2 days)   7.9
Frozen french beans                 14.3

Chefs seem to agree. Incidentally, it is important to cook from frozen, rather than thawing first, (and to use a steel pan) according to one study

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    "it is important to cook from frozen, rather than thawing first" - I'm happy to hear that something I do out of shear laziness turn out to be a good idea. I'm going to file that away in the same mental area as all the research that says coffee is good for me.
    – Kit Sunde
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 22:49
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    @Kit You are shear lazy? Let’s hope that you’re not a shepherd, then. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 11:07
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    I don't doubt that freezing helps preserve nutrients, nonetheless I'd like to add what "Deutsches Tiefkühlinstitut e.V." is: "Founded in 1956, the German Frozen Food Institute (dti) is the communication platform and interest group for the German frozen food industry." tiefkuehlkost.de/download/dti-folder-engl.pdf In so far, it is not an entirely neutral source on this topic.
    – KlausN
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 13:24

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