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Get the most from fruits and vegetables

Get the Most from Fruits and Vegetables

Whether fresh, canned or frozen, families need to have fruits and vegetables in their daily food plan.  Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates which the body needs to maintain health.

Tips for Canned Fruits and Vegetables

  • Be sure to buy fruit in its own juice, packed in fruit juice or unsweetened.
  • Look for "no salt added" or "reduced sodium" varieties when buying canned vegetables
  • You get the most flavor and nutritional value when canned fruits and vegetables are used immediately after opening.

Tips for Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

  • Buy frozen vegetables that are plain or made with low fat sauces.  There is hidden fat in the sauces.
  • Check the label of frozen fruit.  Many times they come in a sweetened and unsweetened varieties.  Choose the unsweetened fruit.  Frozen fruit bars also make a good snack but read the label carefully to avoid extra sugars and make sure they are made with real fruit.

Tips for Dried Fruits

  • Choose fruit that is plain.  Avoid the chocolate or yogurt covered to avoid extra sugar.
  • Dried fruit has lots of fiber, Vitamins A & C, potassium, and folate.
  • Dried fruit is a great portable snack.  Use them in salads, pancakes, breads, and cereals.


Rotini Pasta Salad

  •  12 oz. package rotini pasta
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 c. Low fat Italian style salad dressing
  • 1 t. yellow mustard
  • 1 ½ t. – 1 T. seasoning salt, to taste
  • ¼ t. black pepper or to taste
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 ounces turkey breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 c. shredded cheese, 2% milk

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 8 – 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

Place bacon in large deep skillet.  Cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Drain, crumble and set aside.  (Options: Reduce number of bacon strips to 4.  Or Bake bacon in oven on rack at 400. Or Cook in microwave on paper towels. Or use bacon bits for flavoring.)

Cook frozen vegetables in microwave 4-6 minutes.  Make sure they stay crisp.  Drain moisture.

Set aside ½ of the bacon crumbles and ½ of the cheese.  Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl.  Sprinkle remainder of the cheese and bacon on top.  Cover and chill before serving.

Mixed Vegetable Casserole

  •  2 (15 oz.) cans mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
  • ½ c. mayonnaise or sour cream (do not use low fat variety)
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  • 18-36 buttery round crackers, crushed
  • Pepper to taste
  • Option: Can of sliced water chestnuts

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except crushed crackers.  Mix well.  Spread in a 9x 13 or deep 8x8 baking dish.  Top with cracker crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Option: Frozen or fresh vegetables may be substituted for the frozen vegetables.

For more information contact:

Nancy A. Freeman
County Extension Director-Harrison County

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