When the freezer is healthier than the shelf
Since the recent discoveries of E. coli and salmonella lurking in spinach and other fresh produce, it's not easy eating green. But relax--and open the freezer. Frozen leafy veggies, especially spinach, are more nutritious than supermarket fresh, according to a Journal of Food Science report on a study by Penn State scientists. When fresh leaves are stored on trucks and shelves, they lose many nutrients. Unless you eat from your garden, frozen veggies offer more essential compounds, such as B vitamins (boosts immunity), folate (builds cells), and carotenoids (helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and degenerative diseases like osteoporosis).
And store this in your cupboard: Canned veggies match fresh and frozen in dietary fiber, folate, carotenoids, and other vitamins, say scientists from the University of Illinois. Canned products are precooked, so don't reduce nutrients by overcooking, and defrost frozen veggies to cut cooking time.
How does it taste? Hmmm. Not bad!
Mediterranean Veggie Stew
Brew a protein-rich meal for four from frozen and canned ingredients:
Saut? 1 small chopped onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft.
Add 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic and saut? for two minutes.
Squeeze the water out of 2 packages of defrosted frozen spinach, add to pan, and heat.
In separate pan, heat 1 can crushed tomatoes.
Add 1 can white beans (cannellini, white kidney, or garbanzos) and continue to heat.
Add heated spinach and salt and pepper to taste.
Top with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
Reprinted from POZ (Jan. 2007), a magazine about health, life, and HIV; www.poz.com.