When it's not quite primetime in the garden, it's always vegetable season in your freezer! After being harvested at the peak of ripeness, fresh-picked vegetables are delivered within hours to be cleaned and quick-steamed to lock in color, nutrition, and taste. The vegetables are finally flash-frozen—each whole or cut piece of vegetable to zero degrees Fahrenheit or colder within minutes—before being checked by quality inspectors.

That means the fruits and vegetables in the freezer section are among the healthiest picks at the grocery store, especially now when many of our favorites aren't quite in season. What's more, they're almost all ready to cook as is. That means no prep, no cleaning, no cutting. Bonus: Most are frozen with no added sugar or salt (be sure to read the labels), so they're as close to off-the-stem healthy as the fresh varieties during their season.

This month marks National Frozen Food, and to celebrate, many stores are offering outstanding deals on frozen foods. What's more, organizations like the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association have partnered with money-saving sites like to offer big savings on frozen food brands.

Most frozen bags of fruit and vegetables keep for 6 months or longer. Many last up to a year. Stock up this month (and save!) so you can have fresh produce any day of the week.

Healthy Ways to Use Frozen Foods:

- Steam-in-bag options makes for for fast dinner sides.- Forget ice cubes. Toss frozen fruit in your smoothies.- Add pops of color and flavor to comforting soups.- Veg up stir-fries and frittatas.- Blend and heat for an easier-than-you-can-believe soup.- Add frozen fruit, liquor, and a splash of sparkling water for a super easy cocktail.- one-ingredient ice cream

More Frozen Food Help: