Would you believe me if I say food from your freezer is as nutritious or even healthier than fresh produce?
Harvesting or picking of fresh vegetables and fruit often occur before they are ripe. That allows time for packaging, shipping and merchandising. Notably, the time lapse between harvesting and purchasing it could be several days. Then, once you buy it, it sits in the veggie drawer of your fridge for another week. Who knows how many nutrients the produce lose in that time before you eat or cook it, which could be as long as two weeks. In comparison, frozen produce are at their peak ripeness at harvesting and flash-frozen in a matter of hours after harvesting.
In 2013, a study done by the University of Georgia compared the nutrient levels of frozen and fresh food when purchased, and again five days later. While the levels were similar on the purchase date, the difference was substantial after five days of keeping the fresh produce in the fridge and the frozen ones in the freezer. The levels of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate in the frozen products were significantly higher than in the fresh produce. Folate is a B-vitamin essential for the bone marrow’s production of white and red blood cells.
That tells me that fresh produce is only better if frozen is unavailable. Knowing that frozen is okay makes it possible to have seasonal products throughout the year.
Stock your freezer with summer berries
Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are summer treats that turn moldy quickly. Fresh berries often turn moldy on the store shelves. They are better to buy frozen throughout the year, even in summer. Enjoy their locked-in goodness straight from the freezer in summer. However, for pies, muffins and cobblers, thaw the berries first. To soak up all the yummy juices, add an extra spoon of thickener or starch.
Keep corn in your freezer throughout the year
You can have corn kernels in the middle of winter if you buy them frozen. As long as it is whole kernels and not processed or creamed corn. The frozen corn will be as flavorsome and tasty in your favorite corn dish as the fresh stuff available only in the summer.
The versatility of spinach from your freezer
Although frozen spinach is not suitable for fresh salads, the frozen version is ideal for cooking. Even after weeks in the freezer, its unique texture and taste make an awesome dish if sautéed with onions and mushrooms. Similarly, a creamed spinach pie or quiche are other easy options.
Spring Peas season is very short
You will know that the chance of buying fresh spring peas is limited. Shelled peas are typically frozen and also packed with nutrients. Instead of losing minerals and vitamins in the days after harvesting, frozen peas remain as nutritious as when harvested at their nutritious peek.
Keep broccoli bright green in the freezer
When broccoli sits in the fridge’s vegetable drawer, it loses color and nutrition within days. Instead of cooking limp, dull “fresh” broccoli, why not buy freshly frozen, bright green, nutritious broccoli?
Frozen fish is fresher than fresh fish
Gone are the days when fish sat on the boat for hours before brought to land and frozen. These days, commercial fishing vessels have flash-freezer facilities that lock freshness in. While on the boat, fresh fish storage is 40 degrees below zero. The low temperature kills parasites and destroy other pathogens. Fresh fish on offer in supermarkets have often been previously frozen anyway.
Ground beef stays red in the freezer
Have you noticed how soon ground beef turns brown in the fridge? You can still eat it, but it no longer looks appetizing. Exposing fresh meat to oxygen causes the color change. Ground beef, tightly sealed and frozen, can remain safe to eat for over a year. However, the flavor may deteriorate after three to four months.
Thaw frozen poultry in the fridge overnight
If you go grocery shopping fortnightly or more, does your poultry purchases sit in the fridge for all that time? Why not make sure you never run out and keep frozen chicken and other poultry for months. In fact, it is safe to eat whole frozen chickens and turkeys for about one year.
Frozen Cooked Rice can save you time
Although frozen rice is not more nutritious than freshly cooked rice, it is oh, so handy. Frozen rice is perfect for those days with limited cooking time. A South Korea study determined that consumers found little difference between the texture, aroma and taste of frozen rice and freshly cooked rice. If you freeze rice in individual portions, you can steam the required portions in your microwave and have it ready in minutes.
The aroma of fresh bread is irresistible
It is impossible to resist buying a fresh loaf of bread once you smell the freshly baked aroma. That’s fine, buy it, and have a slice when you get home. However, by tomorrow it will already be less tempting. The smart thing to do is to slice the rest of the bread and freeze it. You can toast the slices straight from the freezer. If you want it soft and fresh, thaw it in the microwave, but thaw it in a zip-lock bag to get the perfect, soft, fresh slice. You can also freeze bread whole or buns and rolls as they are. But again, thaw them in a bag; else they will go hard once they cool down.