Comfort Foods Image Gallery
Comfort Foods Image Gallery

Comfort Foods Image Gallery This seasonal soup takes advantage of the harvest cycle of vegetables like potatoes and carrots. See more pictures of comfort foods.

©2007 Photodisc

Q. I like eating seasonal foods, but I can't always get to the farmer's market. Are frozen and canned seasonal foods a good alternative?

A. Even though fresh is usually favored when it comes to seasonal eating, sometimes it's just not possible, and in those cases, it is most certainly a good alternative to hit the frozen food section of the grocery store.

It's true that eating seasonal foods feels right for a reason. For example, in the summer fruits and vegetables with a high water content quench our thirst and cool us down from the heat.

As the temperatures get colder, sweet potatoes and winter squash provide sustained energy and generate warmth. However, when locally grown produce isn't readily available to complement the changing seasons, it's time to move on to other alternatives.

During these low-harvest months, a well-stocked pantry and freezer filled with fruits and vegetables can be your greatest asset for easy and creative cooking. With today's multitude of options, it's easier than ever to make delicious dinners using fresh, flavor-packed ingredients.

Stocking up on basic foods such as dried or canned beans, canned tomatoes, and frozen spinach and broccoli helps ensure that you're always ready to whip up a quick and nutritious meal.

What's more, out-of-season fruits and vegetables are less expensive when they're canned or frozen. And they last longer than fresh, which prevents spoilage and may save you even more money in the long run.

Canned and frozen produce also is virtually identical to its fresh counterparts in terms of nutrition. These foods contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other beneficial substances.