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By Karen Alexander, Oncology Wellness Specialist


Fresh, frozen, or canned produce?

It isn’t just what you eat that matters, it’s also how fresh it is. Storage time affects the amount of vitamins and phytonutrients in your produce – once fruits and vegetables have been harvested, they begin to lose nutrients.

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

If your produce is fresh and locally grown, it will contain more phytonutrients than if it has been sitting on the supermarket shelves or in your refrigerator for more than a week. Most produce in the supermarket was reaped miles away, and travels by truck to get to your store. As a result, it may have been harvested before its nutritional peak and artificially ripened during transport. This means it loses nutrients before it gets to your plate.

Five benefits of buying seasonal fruit and vegetables:

  • They are less expensive.
  • They taste better because they ripened on the vine or the tree.
  • They are more likely to be fresh and have more nutritional value.
  • You reduce your carbon footprint.
  • You are eating more natural. Foods picked unripe are often given chemical ripening agents, wax coatings, and other preservatives.

If you want to know what produce is in season in Florida, visit:

If you want to know where to buy local produce in Jacksonville, visit:

Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

If you do not have fresh local produce, buying frozen fruits and vegetables may be a good idea. Most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen shortly after they're harvested, so they had time to fully ripen and you get their maximum concentration of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. In fact, freezing helps to preserve many of their nutrients.

Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Although canned fruit and vegetables are processed within hours of harvest and may preserve flavor and nutritional value, most brands are high in sodium and the cans often contain BPA. As we mentioned in (past bulletins) ***link to EDC bulletin***, BPA acts as an endocrine disruptor chemical in your body. If you are planning to use canned produce to skip washing, slicing, or cooking, try BPA-free brands and maintain a 1:1 radio between the calories and the milligrams of sodium (for example: 200 calories per serving should have 200 mg sodium per serving or less).

Storing Your Produce

Once food gets to your house, you are responsible for properly storing it. Every fruit and vegetable has different characteristics and needs different temperatures and humidity for optimal storage.

Room temperature: Prevents cold damage and allows produce to get fully ripe.

Fruits: Apples, bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, melons, papayas, persimmons, pineapple, plantains, and pomegranates.
Vegetables: Cucumber, eggplant, garlic, ginger, jicama, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and winter squash.

Refrigerator (at a temperature of 40° F or below):

Fruits: Apples, apricots, Asian pears, berries, cherries, figs, and grapes.
Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, green beans, beets, Belgian endives, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, green onions, leafy vegetables, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, radishes, spinach, sprouts, summer squash, and sweet corn.


  • If you want to dehydrate your herbs, wash them, dry them and put them in a paper bag in your refrigerator. After a couple of weeks you will have dry herbs.
  • Refrigerate all cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables within 2 hours and eat them in one or two days.

Recipe of the Week: Veggie Frittata


4 cups mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen

6 eggs

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 tsp vegetable oil

1medium onion, sliced

2garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup shredded low fat Swiss cheese



Bring 2 cups salted water to boil in medium saucepan, add mixed vegetables and cover. Cook just until tender, then drain. Cut any larger vegetables.

Whisk eggs, basil, salt and pepper in small bowl.

Heat oil in 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes.

Stir in cooked vegetables. Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet. As mixture sets around edge of skillet, with spatula, gently lift cooked portions to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. Cover and cook until bottom is set and top is almost set.

Sprinkle cheese over top. Cover skillet with lid and cook for another minute to melt cheese.

Cut frittata into wedges to serve.

Note: Cut your frittata in slices and put some in Ziploc bags inside of your freezer. Next time you need a quick breakfast all you need to do is put it on a plate and heat it in your microwave.


*Recipe via Eggs.Ca


Enjoy your weekend!

Karen Ambrosio, OWS

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