Fresh vegetables seem to imply they are freshly harvested. If I say non-frozen vegetables that would include canned vegetables, which I don't mean.

What's a good way of referring to non-canned non-frozen vegetables that are put on a display at the grocery market?

I'm asking because a commenter on my skeptics.SE question said his definition of fresh appeared to be different from how I used it.


In a supermarket it's generally described as the "produce section"


For me, fresh vegetables mean not treated for long preservation (canned, frozen, dried or else), and not freshly harvested. (Well, I do hope that there is some kind of correlation, at least in the places where I buy mine.)

In addition, the New Oxford American Dictionary has:

(of food) recently made or obtained; not canned, frozen, or otherwise preserved.

which appears to back my own usage.

  • +1: I agree with you. Of course fresh vegetables (as well as canned or frozen ones) may have been treated with plenty of things before being harvested, but that's another story :) – nico Apr 20 '11 at 20:56
  • I'm confused about otherwise preserved. Does that mean it's not allowed to be dried, but some chemical preservatives is okay? Or is any attempts at chemical preservation included in that? I'm assuming refrigeration is okay since it keeps things fresh. – Kit Sunde Apr 20 '11 at 21:03
  • Apples and potatoes in the grocery are considered fresh, and some of them may have been harvested months to nearly a year ago. Cold storage keeps them fresh. Well, mostly fresh -- in the early summer it's best to look for apples from the other hemisphere, because they won't be so old. – thursdaysgeek Apr 20 '11 at 21:55

Definition of fresh:

7. not preserved by freezing, canning, pickling, salting, drying, etc.: fresh vegetables.

Though it also implies other meanings such as freshly harvested as you mentioned. If you don't want these implied meanings, you need to physically write "non-frozen" "non-canned" in order to be clear.


Grocers sometimes call goods displayed at room temperature ambient, but were attacked by the Plain English Campaign when labels saying this appeared on sausage rolls.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.