"This particular study was designed from the point of view of the consumer, and it's one of the first to take into account the way people buy and store produce," Pegg said.

"Freezing is nature's pause button," he said. "It helps maintain the nutritional value of fresh vegetables, even during storage."

Frozen vegetables are able to maintain more of their nutritional value because they are blanched shortly after being taken from farmers' fields. This stops the enzymatic reactions that can break down many nutrients. Freezing also slows the enzymatic breakdown of fruits, which are not blanched, and decreases microbial break down.

The study, completed this fall, was funded by a grant from the Frozen Food Foundation. Pegg's past work has focused on measuring the available antioxidants and nutrients in commodities such as pecans, muscadines, peanuts, lentils, coffee and other products.