Cook Fast, Live Young: Fresh vs. Canned or Frozen Food

Cook Fast, Live Young: Fresh vs. Canned or Frozen Food

We live in a time unparalleled in its desire to be healthy. Organic. Natural.

And while this is all well and good, and we should definitely attempt to eat the best food we are able to, it’s wise to keep in mind that healthy doesn’t necessarily have to mean fresh. Next time you’re getting ingredients together to cook a delicious meal, think about buying dried, frozen, or canned foods. Blasphemy, you say? Well, consider this: typically produce is dried, frozen, or canned when it is most ripe and when it’s at its most nutrient-rich point. In many cases, you’ll actually be eating foods with fewer nutrients when it’s “fresh” in the store after weeks of traveling or having been stored–which isn’t uncommon. The same goes for poultry and fish, which is often flash-frozen to keep it fresh and avoid freezer damage.

Canned foods can stay fresh and nutrient-rich for years, and most of them taste just as good as “fresh” food once you rinse off the syrup, juice, or salty water that covers them. And with frozen or dried foods, you also have the extremely useful option of using only what you need and resealing the package to save the rest for later. As long as you store the food properly, you won’t have any waste!

And this is one of those rare occasions where you should consider thinking inside the box and utilizing powdered or evaporated milk for cooking purposes. You won’t taste the difference in things like casseroles, mashed potatoes, or desserts, and powdered milk has lots of advantages over the liquid variety. It’s just as healthy, but lasts far longer and costs only a fraction of the price!

In general, the lesson here is to do your homework on what “fresh” and “healthy” really mean, and buy the form of food that gives you the best price for your needs.

Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine, a contributor to the career blog at, and owner of the food blog Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Susan.Yoo-Lee at 10:48 pm

    I have tons of canned foods in my pantry. Whenever I don’t have something on hand, I can always create something out of my canned goods.

  2. ebbeszoo at 1:44 pm

    depends on what we are talking about, fruit i always buy fresh, now vegtables, are canned because they are cheaper and last longer. you can stock up on them.

  3. ChuckG at 12:44 am

    Canned tuna, a few canned veggies but no frozen fruits. Fruits have to be fresh. I don’t want to make a smoothie because then I’d have to clean up the blender.

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