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9 Foods That Are Just As Good Frozen As Fresh

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Have you browsed the frozen food aisle recently? When it comes to food, many health-conscious shoppers are spending more time than ever looking for organic, farm-to-table ingredients. But if you don’t have a farmer’s market down the block, fear not—frozen foods are usually more convenient than the fresh equivalent, and in some cases can even be healthier!

How can frozen foods be better than fresh? The biggest factor is time. Eating raspberries right off the bush, for instance, is a best-case scenario, but the berries you buy from your local grocery store may have spent several days being shipped, stored, and possibly bruised by the time they reach shelves. As food ages, nutrients and vitamins are lost.

Furthermore, the demands of transportation necessitate that grocery store produce is often picked well before reaching ideal ripeness. But frozen foods can be harvested at their best, then immediately flash-frozen to retain their nutritional content. In other cases, freezer options are simply a more convenient way to save time and money. If you're looking to restock your freezer, or just want to know which foods offer the best bang for your limited freezer space, read on.

1. BROCCOLI

Today’s food scientists agree that in nearly all cases, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, and in some cases, the frozen varieties even pack an extra-healthy punch. In a study conducted at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Ali Bouzari and her team discovered that the process of blanching and freezing broccoli florets actually results in a higher level of riboflavin (an essential B vitamin that helps with energy production). Not to mention you’ll save space and weight in your grocery bag by passing on bulky broccoli stalks!

2. HASH BROWNS

Although fruits and vegetables are some of the easiest and most common choices, don’t forget that prepared foods and more complex dishes can be stored in the freezer as well. In fact, celebrity chef Billy Parisi tells Parade magazine that "the surest bet you’ll find in my kitchen is a well-stocked freezer." In addition to more expected fare like peas and chicken breasts, Parisi’s a fan of using frozen hash browns to get a jump on a big weekend family breakfast. "I love to simply sear frozen hash browns in a little olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper and serve it as a side," he says, or he suggests adding in scrambled eggs, bacon, peppers, and onions for a hearty hash.

3. SHRIMP

Freezing seafood can be intimidating—not all species of fish freeze effectively, and various types of shellfish require different procedures to safely freeze, thaw, and prepare. Frozen shrimp, however, are a staggeringly easy back-of-the-freezer secret weapon, and they can last 6-8 months in the reserves. Keep an eye out for brands which advertise "IQF" ("Individually Quick Frozen"), a process which ensures the meat will retain better flavor and texture after thawing. Next time surprise guests arrive before dinner, just add pre-cleaned shrimp to fill out a stew, salad, or pasta. Take a look at The City Cook’s primer for even more tips to make the most of your marine morsels.

4. BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries boast an amazing blend of antioxidants, phytoflavinoids, potassium, and vitamins—they’re a legitimate "superfood" and can help fight inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Fresh berries are divine, but according to the Environmental Working Group, blueberries are also one of the fruits most likely to carry a high pesticide content (they were listed as #14 of 48 in 2016). Frozen blueberries are just as convenient, and according to Livestrong.com, contain less than half the insecticides of fresh berries. They'll last longer frozen and are just as easy to toss in warm oatmeal or a smoothie for an invigorating start to your day.

5. CHILI

Speaking of time-saving measures, some foods lend themselves to freezing simply by virtue of scale. Take chili, for instance—most recipes (even the weird ones) take several hours to prepare and yield 6-8 servings, if not more. That works out great for Super Bowl Sunday, but it's a bit impractical for a Tuesday night dinner for two. Fortunately, frozen chili retains its rib-sticking appeal for 4-6 months, but remains safe even past that. So, if you make a huge pot over the weekend, you can enjoy re-heating bowls of unbelievably easy comfort food for weeks on end.

6. FRESH HERBS

Incorporating fresh herbs (ideally from your own backyard) is one of the most enjoyable elements of summertime cooking. The end of warm weather, however, provides an excellent opportunity to employ another strategic freezer move. Dice the herbs—anything from basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, oregano, mint, etc.—then coat them with olive oil before freezing in ice cube trays or Ziploc bags. (There’s some debate about the best method; Serious Eats compared several possibilities for the scientifically curious.) When winter rolls around, you can pop a flavorful herb-cube right into your favorite sauce or soup.

7. CORN

Corn is another vegetable that Dr. Bouzari found to have a nutritional net benefit after the industrial flash-freezing process—her study found the frozen sample had higher levels of vitamin C than fresh corn, and no significant difference in fiber or mineral content. Even putting nutrition aside, however, frozen corn deserves a place on this list solely for ease of preparation. Simply thawing corn to toss into a burrito or casserole saves lots of time and hassle.

8. PIZZA

You might be hard-pressed to find anyone who argues for the superiority of hastily made frozen pizza over a hot, fresh pie out of a wood oven. But with some insider knowledge, it’s easier than ever to give your local pizzeria some competition. Bon Appétit's Adam Rapoport advises starting with Roberta’s frozen pizza, then ramping it up with thin slices of red onion, sea salt, and a drizzle of quality olive oil before baking. Here, four other chefs suggest similar specialty-ingredient improvements, from pickled pepperoncinis to grated Indian Amul cheese.

9. GIRL SCOUT COOKIES

The year's batch of Girl Scout Cookies are currently being distributed, and typically, most boxes don’t last very long. But for those with the foresight to buy extra (and the discipline to not eat them all immediately), popping a box or two in the freezer until the summer months can make for a delightfully cool snack on a sweltering day. Plus, saving some Thin Mints for a sweet, boozy chocolate-mint milkshake is the perfect way to reward your patience.

All images via iStock unless otherwise stated.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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