Do You Need to Wash Frozen Fruits and Vegetables?

Plus, learn how to safely enjoy convenient frozen produce.

There are so many reasons to love frozen fruits and vegetables. They last longer than fresh produce, are more affordable and are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. And in many cases, they can be more convenient to cook with. While many of us rely on frozen foods in our day-to-day, it can be a little less clear on how to safely prepare them. We dive into the science on how to safely enjoy convenient frozen produce.

A stack of frozen fruits and veggies on a designed background
Getty Images / Nicholas Eveleigh

So, should you be washing frozen fruits and vegetables? The answer: it depends on what it is. The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) clarifies that frozen fruit is safe and ready-to-eat straight from the package, no need to wash it. This is due to its higher levels of acidity and sugar, making it unlikely that harmful bacteria could grow on it at freezer temperatures.

Frozen vegetables, however, are lower in sugar and acidity, making them more susceptible to bacteria growth than fruits. The AFFI recommend that all frozen vegetables should always be cooked according to package instructions. If the package suggests to drain or rinse the vegetables, then they should be washed.

While there has been some controversy in the past about the food safety of frozen produce, the AFFI assures that frozen produce is highly safe and manufacturing facilities are held to high standards of cleanliness. Frozen fruits and berries are safe to consume raw, cooked or even frozen out of the bag. However, frozen vegetables should always be cooked before consumption to minimize any foodborne illness risk. Luckily for us, there are several ways to make frozen vegetables just as delicious as fresh. For more, check out some of our easy recipes starring frozen produce.

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