Many of the healthiest things you will consume are new fruits and vegetables. Examples of frozen produce include frozen grapes, peanuts, spinach, cabbage, and many more. They’re made of proteins, minerals and enzymes that all help maintain our body health. Consuming more vegetables and fruits will also help to prevent heart disease. There may not often be fresh produce available, so frozen varieties provide a versatile substitute. Its nutritional value can vary, however.
Harvest, Processing and Transportation
Many of the fruits and vegetables you purchase are picked by hand, and the equipment harvests a smaller quantity. What comes after that, however, differs between fresh and frozen food.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Most of the time, garden-fresh fruits and vegetables are picked before they turn ripe. It gives them flexibility during shipping to completely ripen. This also provides them with less time to grow a complete variety of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants. New produce is usually processed in a cold, regulated environment during shipping, and handled with chemicals to avoid spoilage. When they enter the store, fruits and vegetables can remain on sale for another one to three days. They are then kept up to seven days in people’s homes before being consumed.
Frozen fruits and vegetables
Meanwhile, frozen produce has a slightly different process of harvesting. Typically, frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested at peak ripeness as they are the most nutritious during that time. The vegetables are mostly washed, blanched, sliced, frozen, and packed within a couple of hours of harvest. Fruits are preferred not to be blanched because their form may be adversely influenced by this. They can then be treated with ascorbic acid which is a type of vitamin C or added sugar to avoid them from spoiling. Several additives are normally applied to manufacture until freezing.
Loss of vitamins in frozen produce process
Freezing usually helps to maintain the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. Many nutrients therefore tend to break down when frozen goods are processed for over a year. Throughout the blanching cycle, certain nutrients often get lost. Generally, at this point, the largest nutrient deficiency occurs. Blanching happens until freezing, which requires putting the substance for a brief period in boiling water – typically a few minutes. This destroys any unhealthy bacteria and keeps the taste, colour and texture from missing out. However, it also contributes to the depletion of water-soluble components including B-vitamins and vitamin C. This doesn’t happen with frozen fruits which do not undergo the blanching process. The degree of the depletion of nutrients differs based on vegetable form and blanching duration. In total, casualties vary from 10% to 80%, with an average of around 50%.
Which one is more nutritious?
Reports from tests measuring the nutrient quality of frozen and fresh produce differ marginally. This is because some studies use freshly harvested products and remove the effects of storage and transportation time, whereas others use supermarket products. Differences between preparation and testing processes may also affect results. However, typically, the data shows that freezing will retain nutrient importance, and the nutritional quality of fresh and frozen items is identical. When a decrease in nutrients is reported in frozen products, the number is usually not that big. In addition, fresh and frozen items have comparable amounts of vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin E, nutrients, and fiber. Blanching usually doesn’t impact them. Studies contrasting stores with frozen products including peas, green beans, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli reported strong antioxidant activity and nutrient quality.
In conclusion, both frozen and fresh produce have the same amount of nutrients. It is uncertain whether the former is a better alternative than the latter as both have their pros and cons. However, what’s certain is that you choose what you want to eat and how you wish to live your life.