Published on October 13th, 2013 | by Joe Starks0
Frozen VS Fresh Food
It has become very common that large households prefer to consume frozen vegetables instead of peeling, cleaning and cooking fresh ones. It used to be said that chosen frozen over fresh food diminished its nutritional value, since it is not as it would be if taken from tree or ground to the table. For all those people out there who want a clear scientific answer on whether choosing frozen over fresh is a nutritional sin we will discuss this matter in detail in this article. What are the benefits and down sides of choosing frozen over fresh?
Do foods lose their nutrients when frozen?
If you compare the frozen vegetables and fruit to the exact fresh food it used to be, you might see a tiny difference in water soluble vitamins, like B and C. This happens because fresh produce is boiled for a very short time before being frozen. The difference is not as big as someone would expect from all the myths flying around out there.
The truth is that vegetables lose more of their nutrients if you decide to boil them. This is why it is preferred to defrost or steam your vegetables and fruit instead.
Comparing the end result of a defrosted piece of produce to the fresh one you’ll find in the produce section, yields some extremely interesting results. Frozen food actually has often a similar or higher nutritional value than the produce ready to buy at the supermarket. This happens because fresh fruit and vegetables are picked before they are ripe, so that they ripen on their journey to the point they’ll be sold at. Frozen fruit and vegetable on the contrary are picked when ripe, giving those more time to absorb nutrients from the ground.
You have to note that these differences are not really important when seen from the nutritional point of view. It is only something a chemist would notice, not your body.
Benefits of Frozen food
There are plenty of benefits in buying frozen over fresh food. Here are some of the most important:
- They do not adhere to seasons like fresh produce. You can have a larger variety of vegetable and fruit all year around if you buy them frozen.
- The prices are considerably lower since the product does not spoil as quickly and doesn’t demand quick transportation. They are also easier to transport than fresh produce.
- The prices stay almost the same around the year, while fresh produce can become extremely expensive when it is out of season.
- You can eat exotic and exciting produce from other countries at a cheap price, something the average family can’t do with fresh food.
- They often do not require peeling, cleaning or cooking. Those that need to be cooked should be preferably steamed.
- They are homogenous. This means that you pretty much know the taste and texture you’ll get, while fresh produce can be overripe or too hard.
Benefits of Fresh Food
Let’s face it, fresh food has its many benefits as well that a frozen product can’t reach. Some of those are:
- They are more delicious when chosen well.
- They have better texture. Freezing and unfreezing a food can cause it to become a tiny bit softer because of the water crystals that formed and melted away within. This is why fresh fruit might be crunchier.
- They look better. The looks of a fresh piece of fruit or vegetable are simply better when they are fresh.
What’s the verdict?
If you are on a budget, frozen fruit can offer you just as many nutrients (and sometimes more) than fresh food. The only great differences are when it comes to the general appeal, including texture, looks and sometimes taste. This battle of frozen vs. fresh concerns mainly produce, because other types of frozen food, like pizzas and ready meals can be easier distinguished from their fresh counterparts. It is easier to count calories of frozen foods, but when it comes to non produce meals, they often have cheap ingredients and a lot of salt in them. This is why this article was mainly about produce, which is quite similar in both frozen and fresh form.