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Go frozen to escape high prices: doc

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver



Forget fresh veggies, a local naturopath says if you’re going to avoid buying cauliflower at $10 a head, go for the frozen stuff instead — it’s just as good for you.

Dr. Allana Polo with the New Westminster-based Polo Health and Longevity Centre said people are turning to canned fruits and veggies as an alternative with rising prices for fresh vegetables.

According to BC Stats, between 2014 and 2015, produce costs have risen by 18.2%.

“Canned comes with aluminum and BPA and other things required for preservation, but frozen does not,” Polo said.

“People think that frozen is an unhealthier option, when in fact it’s just as nutrient dense as fresh — you don’t have to worry about it going bad. In reality, it’s flash frozen and if they don’t do anything to alter it, it maintains most of the nutrient content.”

Not everything can be replaced with frozen, but some of the more expensive imports, like cauliflower, can.

“Cruciferous vegetables — that’s a family of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale, they’re the most likely to be frozen,” Polo said.

“Tomatoes aren’t frozen, they don’t reheat well, lettuce, absolutely, but everything else — you’ll find peppers frozen, you’ll find carrots frozen ... fruits as well, the berries and strawberries are crazy right now.”

Over the past week at her clinic she’s heard from two dozen patients who’ve had concerns about being unable to afford fresh produce.

At the grocery store, however, it doesn’t seem as if the high price for fresh, imported stuff has turned consumers to frozen produce.

“My customers don’t turn around and say, ‘do you have frozen?’” said Quoc On, owner of the Dollar Grocers Ltd. in Vancouver.

“It’s not the same. People who put out steamed broccoli, it’s totally different when you microwave frozen stuff, thaw them and it results in no crunch.”

On acknowledged that frozen produce can cost half as much as fresh produce, but that’s not because it’s cheaper to make frozen food — the inventory is just older.

“Fresh produce always reflects the up-to-date price. Frozen could be from six months ago when they produced and freezed them ... it doesn’t reflect the price side by side,” he said.

“If you’re looking for steamed vegetable or stir fry you want the fresh stuff. If you’re cooking curry or boiling them in soup — then you don’t go fresh.”

Polo, however, recalls preparing dinner with frozen peas and cauliflower just the other night. She couldn’t taste the difference and neither could her husband.

“I had it with rice and sauce and I really couldn’t taste the difference,” she said.

“If he can, he doesn’t tell me.”



Would you ever cook with frozen vegetables?