When you're reaching for ingredients to put in your morning smoothie, there are two types of fruit you can pick: fresh or frozen. What do you usually go for? Do you stick to fresh fruit for its flavor, or do you like to keep frozen fruit on hand to thicken your drinks? While both fresh and frozen fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that counteract disease, according to the Huffington Post, each offers distinct advantages in terms of pricing, availability, and taste. So to help you navigate the options, here's a look at these two types of fruit and what they each offer.

The Benefits of Fresh Fruit

According to Cleveland Clinic, "The sooner you eat produce after it's harvested, the better its nutrient profile." This is one reason that fresh, in-season local fruit is so beneficial. But not only is it high in nutrients, it also offers a variety of other benefits. Here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Flavor: If you've ever tasted a ripe strawberry at the peak of picking season, you know that nothing compares. Whether you gravitate toward berries or stone fruit, you'll taste the best, most vibrant flavors in the midst of harvest season.
  • Access: Simply put, when a fruit is in season, there is more of it available. When there is more of a fruit available, it's easy to find at your local market or grocery store. You can easily load up on pears, oranges, watermelons, or whatever in-season fruit you love.
  • Prices: There's a good reason apple prices go down every fall—when there is more of something available, there is less demand. If you take advantage of fresh fruit that's in season, you can enjoy more of it for a lower total cost.

The Benefits of Frozen Fruit

While eating fruit soon after it's picked offers nutritional benefits, freezing fruit doesn't dramatically take away from this value. In fact, according to the New York Times, "In general, the differences in nutrient levels between fresh and frozen are so minor that they would be unlikely to have an impact on overall health, and dietitians generally encourage people to eat as many fruits and vegetables as they can, in whatever form they enjoy." So feel free to reach for frozen fruit. It offers benefits such as:

  • Out-of-Season Access: When you can't find fresh, local berries in the middle of winter, you can opt for frozen berries instead. By going with frozen fruits, you'll be able to enjoy the types of fruit you love all year long.
  • Excess: Are you wondering what to do with the two crates of oranges you bought on sale? If you can't finish them before they'll go bad, peel and freeze them. You can also throw them into your smoothie or use them in other recipes at other times of the year. Freezing fruit is a great preservation technique that allows you to continue enjoying it for a long time.
  • Thick, Cold Smoothies: There's nothing like a cold smoothie on a hot day, and frozen fruit helps you thicken the consistency of your drink so that it's almost like a fruity milkshake.

When choosing between fresh and frozen fruit, start by deciding whether you want to eat seasonally, cut costs, or enjoy a fruit's flavor to the fullest. Then the next time you hit the grocery store, you'll be able to quickly decide whether you want to head to the freezer aisle or produce section.