180 Nutrition: Eating frozen food is as healthy as consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. A study by Li et al compared the nutrient content of fresh produce and frozen fruits & vegetables. In their analyses, there was no significant differences in the vitamin content of fresh-stored produce and frozen food. The latter often outperformed fresh-stored products in cases where there were remarkable differences. The findings of the study do not support the common belief that fresh food has more nutritional value than their frozen counterparts. Freezing fresh food not only reduces food wastage and improves sustainability but also provides a viable source of valuable nutrients that your body needs to be healthy.
Food Travels Far
It takes a long time for fresh harvests to reach the supermarkets and food stores as Australia is a big country and the distance between farms and built-up areas is huge. For example, a typical food basket in Victoria travels over 21,000 km and the total distance for all items in the basket reaches up to 71,000 km. In addition, the food supply and distribution chain has become complex with globalization impacting the number of sources such as overseas. By the time the food ends on your table, fresh food has already lost its some of its nutrients due to light, oxygen and heat.
Is Frozen Food Nutritious?
Compare this to fresh produce that is snap frozen immediately as soon as it is cleaned and harvested. In an ideal scenario, a packing station must be near to the farms so that food travels in a shorter time. Freezing is the act of subjecting food at low temperatures, usually at -18°C to preserve it for longer period. It does not alter any of the property or characteristics of food. No chemicals are added to keep it fresh.
So yes, frozen food is as nutritious as fresh produce and in some instances, even better than wilting fruits and vegetables. A British study found out that the antioxidant levels in frozen produce is higher than fresh fruits and vegetables.
A Good Freezer Is Essential
Freezing fruits and vegetables is a way to minimize food wastage, save money and help the environment. An important equipment for preserving food is a good freezer that has enough space to accommodate frozen grub. It is also vital to keep tabs of the temperature to ensure that food is kept at optimal conditions. If the freezer is unable to maintain low temperatures, do not keep frozen food longer than three months. Avoid opening doors frequently especially when the weather is warm to reduce contamination.
Packaging Food for Freezing
The earlier you freeze fresh foodstuff, the better it is for its quality and nutrient content. Divide food into different portions so that they are easy to take out and you don’t have to thaw more food than you need. Go for individual portions as well as medium and large sizes for batch cooking or juicing. Transparent freezer bags are ideal since they take less space. Remove as much air as possible or vacuum pack food for good results.
Frozen produce is as wholesome as fresh fruits and vegetables. If preserved properly, they are even better than fresh foodstuff that has lost its nutrients or got spoiled due to exposure to heat, air and light or poor storage practices.
This article was written by Jane Munro a health enthusiast and freelance writer.