Published on February 24th, 2011 | by Heather Carr1
Whole Foods’ 365 Frozen Vegetable Blends: Product Review
Whole Foods recently sent me a gift card to try their new line of 365 Frozen Vegetable Blends. The mixed vegetables come in a convenient steamer bag containing no preservatives or additives of any kind – just the vegetables.
Frozen vegetables are great for preserving the harvest and eating it later. Studies have shown that frozen vegetables maintain the nutrient content they had when they were fresh. They’re also very convenient when you’re in a rush and realize you forgot to make a side dish or if you want to add something to bulk up a soup or stew.
Some of the 365 Frozen Vegetable Blends are organic and some aren’t. My local Whole Foods didn’t carry the organic selections, so my impressions are formed around their conventionally grown veggies. They were delicious and much fresher tasting than other commercially packaged frozen vegetables.
The only ingredients in the blends are the vegetables themselves. Each blend contains three to six vegetables, chopped and ready to cook. There’s no sauce or even salt on them.
I compared the ingredient list to another major brand of frozen vegetable blends and found things like sugar, enzyme modified butter, salt, corn starch, spice, xanthan gum, dried parsley, garlic powder, lactose, annatto and paprika extract colors, natural flavor. I even found gelatin in one of the ingredients lists. If I’m going to put fatty animal products in my veggies, it’s going to be a mouthwatering chunk of salt pork, not some flavorless caloric pre-glue.
Whole Foods has wisely skipped the attempts to improve on nature and left out all those other ingredients. Since there are no additives, these veggies are appropriate for vegan diets. The label on the back also says there are no gluten ingredients.
Most vegetables have no fat. The few that do have healthy fats. All these blends are high in vitamin A, most are high in vitamin C, and they’re all low in sodium. No salt has been added to the vegetables; it’s just the naturally-occurring sodium.
The new line of 365 Frozen Vegetable Blends comes in a steamable bag which can be placed in the microwave for four to five minutes for perfectly steamed vegetables. They also include instructions for cooking the veggies without the bag by steaming them on the stove, microwaving them in a bowl, and boiling them on the stove. I tried all the methods according to their instructions and the veggies came out perfect every time.
Country of Origin
A nifty thing I noticed about the 365 Frozen Vegetable Blends is that they list the country of origin for each vegetable on the back of the box. This is handy for locavores who are trying to stick to an 80/20 rule. It’s handy for everyone who wants to know where their food comes from.
What About Price?
Whole Foods has a reputation for being more expensive than traditional grocery stores. These 365 frozen veggies compare favorably with the major brands at other stores.
I compared prices on a major brand that offers the same kind of steam-in-a-bag frozen vegetables. They put 10 ounces in their bag for $2.59 (at my local grocery store; prices may vary) or about $0.259 per ounce. The 365 veggies cost $1.99 for 7 ounces, or about $0.284 per ounce.
365 Frozen Vegetable Blends Selections
There are a large variety of 365 Frozen Vegetable Blends to choose from. Here are just a few:
- Garden Blend – broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas
- Soup and Stew Blend – spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, and red potatoes
- Harvest Blend – green peas, carrots, kale, and corn
- Four Seasons Blend – sugar snap peas, yellow squash, carrots, and corn
- Organic Southwestern Blend – onions, red peppers, and green peppers
- Organic Mediterranean Blend – zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, green beans, red peppers, and onions
- Organic Leafy Greens Blend – collard greens, mustard greens, and kale