Society has been naturally led to believe that fresh produce is better than frozen from a nutritional standpoint.
There’s no doubt fresh produce wins in terms of taste but in today’s fast paced environment where the average working person has less free time on their hands, convenience becomes such an important factor, when sticking to a diet.
Can frozen be on par with fresh produce? Or will frozen continue to be the black sheep of the produce family?
Lets find out!
FRESH OR FOE
First lets define fresh and frozen produce;
- We can describe a fruit or vegetable as fresh if it’s either “postharvest ripened” (i.e., if it ripens during transport) or “vine ripened” (i.e., if it is picked and sold ripe, as at a farm’s fresh market or a farmer’s roadside fruit stand).
- Frozen produce is fully vine ripened and undergo only minimal processing.
Fresh produce, either vine ripened or postharvest ripened, depends on a host of factors, including soil, season, weather, farming method, and storage conditions and duration in terms of their nutritional content.
In many instances, the food you take off the shelf in a grocery store has been harvested under ripe to avoid damage during travel time. This means that is hasn’t yet reached its peak nutrition.
Furthermore, the minute it was picked, its nutritional content began to deteriorate. The food is then loaded on a truck, boat or plane, travels for days and waits on a shelf for you to choose it.
Over this period of potentially weeks, the food loses some of its nutritional value.
FROZEN OR FRIEND
Most frozen produce undergo blanching in hot water for a few minutes before freezing. This helps to inactivate enzymes that may cause unfavourable changes in colour, smell, flavour, and nutritional value, proven by this study.
And just before produce are frozen, they’re picked when they’re ripe. So it essentially freezes, or locks most of the nutrients in place.
Is there a difference between fresh and frozen produce nutritionally? Evidence suggests there isn’t.
In particular, this study does not support the common belief of consumers that fresh food has significantly greater nutritional value than its frozen counterpart.
What is important, is that your eat your damn veggies! Whether frozen, fresh or even canned, you will still reap the nutritional benefits.
- “Is there a difference between fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables?,” Examine.com, published on 14 December 2017, last updated on 5 June 2018, http://examine.com/nutrition/fresh-vs-frozen-vs-canned-vegetables/