Connect & follow

Ask the Expert

Fruits and vegetables are a nutritious and colorful part of every meal, and they are convenient and delicious for snacks.  Recommendations for fruits and vegetables have increased: most moderately active men should eat about 5 to 6 cups per day, and most moderately active women should eat 3½ to 4½ cups per day.  Literally almost half of what you eat each day should be fruits and vegetables (including beans). Eating fruits and vegetables at most eating occasions will help meet these recommendations.




To freeze strawberries, wash, dry and hull the berries. Spread the berries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or some other non-stick surface. Place in the refrigerator until chilled through (45 minutes to 1 hour.) Then place chilled berries in the freezer until the berries are frozen solid. Once they are frozen solid they can be placed in a zip-top bag or other air-tight container for easier storage. Frozen berries make a great addition to fruit smoothies and other quick and healthy snacks. You can also use this method to freeze blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, to name a few.




What a delicious problem to have—too many sweet potatoes!



For freezing sweet potatoes, information obtained from the Cooperative Extension Service at the

University of

suggests first cooking them until almost tender (either by steaming, pressure cooker or in the oven).  Once cool, they can be peeled, cut in halves, sliced or mashed.  Then, to prevent darkening, dip the whole or sliced sweet potatoes in a lemon juice/water solution (½ cup / 1 quart).   A little orange or lemon juice added to mashed sweet potatoes will keep them from darkening as well.  Put into containers, seal and freeze.



You can also dehydrate them or bake your own sweet potato chips for a great snack!!



Remember, when selecting sweet potatoes, choose ones that are firm with smooth skin.  Avoid those with cracks, soft spots or blemishes.  Store in a cool, dry place for use within 3-5 weeks.  Get more selection and storage information for many different fruits and vegetables right here on our website:




The recommendation for fruit intake for most adult women who are moderately active would be about 2 to 2½ cups per day; and  for moderately active adult men it is about 2½ to 3 cups per day.  It is only detrimental to eat more if the fruit is replacing other nutritious foods that are needed in the diet or if it is contributing to excess calorie intake. 



We did some checking and talked to some “fig experts.”  They were not aware of any domestic companies that still can Kadota figs in a jar.  Back in the “old days,” Del Monte used to can Kadota figs in a jar.  Today, Kadota figs are packed in cans (Oasis Foods), under Oasis and

Oregon labels.  This expert said that there is an imported "jar" packed fig, that comes from

, but he couldn’t recall the name of it.



I’m wondering if by asking this that you want to know if there are a lot of calories associated with squash?  Most summer squash, including zucchini, and the winter spaghetti squash are lower in carbs than say other winter squash such as acorn or butternut.   Keep in mind that all fruits and vegetables contain good carbohydrates and it stands to reason that some will be higher in carb content than others.  Generally, more “watery” vegetables have both fewer carbohydrates and fewer calories.  


More detailed nutritional information for this vegetable can be found on USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (  Be sure to check out our fruit and veggie database as well: for nutritional information on the more common fruits and vegetables.



Frozen vegetables that thaw may be re-frozen provided that they have not completely thawed, unless the vegetables are in a cream sauce or are part of a meat dish or frozen dinner. In those cases, it is best to disposed of those partially thawed items.  Check to see if the vegetables still have some ice crystals. If so, they usually can be refrozen. If the food is completely thawed but still cold to the touch, it is best to use the food immediately or dispose of it.




Recommendations for intake of fruits and vegetables include eating a variety of both.  Using color as a guide is a good way to help achieve variety in the diet.  Moderately active women should consume 3 ½ to 4 ½ cups total of fruits and vegetables per day.  It is fine to eat them raw or cooked, and including both helps add interest.  Cooking in different ways also adds interest – using spices, making curry or stir-fry, grilling etc. Oils and other cooking fats add extra calories, and so should be used in small amounts.  Fruits and vegetables have many health benefits, although I am not aware of any research that shows that fruits and vegetables improve the glow of your skin.  There are many factors related to skin health and eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals is sure to help. 



Click to Learn More about Food Labels


Click to go to our Fruit and Veggie Database

The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.
Read her full bio123 >>

Connect & follow

Leave Your Feedback