10 Foods You Should Always Buy Fresh
Walk down any produce aisle in a supermarket and you'll find clear containers of every fruit and veggie whole, sliced, spiralized, and riced. Pre-cut veggies are definitely a time-saver on busy weeknights when you want to get fresh food on the table quickly.
But since you're paying for someone to prep the produce for you, these grab-and-go containers can add dollars to your grocery bill. Sure, you can grab a bag of frozen spinach or broccoli, or even a can of peas for a quick fix, but not every frozen or canned item is worth it. Plus, canned veggies tend to be super high in salt and canned fruits can be packed with added sugar.
Sometimes, if you're not willing to buy the whole fruit or vegetable, just cave and buy the pre-cut fresh stuff. To make things easier on you in the market, here are the 10 items our editors always buy fresh.
Even when steamed, snap peas have a distinctive crispy bite to them. They add taste and texture to dishes that you just can't replicate in a frozen version. A bag of these from the freezer section brings mushy, flavorless pods to your kitchen, so stick to the real deal.
Why would you bother with canned chicken when you can buy perfectly delicious fresh or frozen cuts? And of course, if you're pressed for time (or just don't feel like cooking), rotisserie chicken is a godsend. Canned chicken can taste rubbery and reminiscent of canned tuna. Take it from us—just buy the real thing.
They're cheap, easy to prepare, and incredibly versatile, so why mess with something so perfect? Canned potatoes make us shudder, and there's nothing quite like mashed potatoes made from a bag of fresh 'taters.
It's really difficult to get past the mushy, bitter flavor that frozen Brussels sprouts become once steamed. It's always best to work from fresh. They're perfect shredded into salads, roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and spices, or crisped on the stove.
If you do want to give these frozen veg an upgrade, we found a way to make frozen Brussels sprouts actually taste delicious..
If you're not willing to slice a butternut squash from whole, it's well worth your money to buy the pre-cut selection in the refrigerated produce aisle. Frozen squash tends to become mushy and a little stringy when reheated. Alternatively, you can always go with canned pumpkin for desserts or sauces, because it's really just pureed squash anyway.
You can microwave this veg from fresh in minutes to make a picture perfect dinner, so it's never worth cracking open a can. They tend to come out mushy, salty, and all-together unappealing.
Anything you can notice in a dish as canned isn't something we ever want. Canned mushrooms don't absorb flavors like fresh do, and they tend to have a rubbery texture and overly salty flavor. Fresh is best, and they're super simple to work with.
One bite of canned carrots and you're instantly reminded of jarred baby food—they're soggy and can't stand up to flavors the same way fresh carrots can. If you're desperate, frozen is acceptable, but we would always opt for fresh.
Especially if you're someone who loves intense garlic, fresh is a necessity. Opening a bag of peeled garlic or a jar of minced may be a time saver, but just buy a cheap garlic press instead. The flavor just can't be matched, and it makes a world of difference.
Frozen is definitely quality and delicious, but canned fruits are a big no-no. They're usually packed with added sugars, and give fruits a gelatinous texture that's not ideal in your smoothies or fruit salads.