Are Frozen Vegetables As Healthy as Fresh Vegetables?
Are Frozen Vegetables As Healthy as Fresh: Many people choose frozen food (frozen food) including vegetables because it is more practical. You don’t have to worry about washing and chopping frozen vegetables. Just take it out of the fridge and you can quickly turn it into a variety of dishes.
However, is the quality of frozen vegetables as good as fresh vegetables? How to store frozen vegetables properly so that their nutritional content is maintained? Check out the answer in the following review.
Fresh and frozen vegetables, which is healthier?
Frozen foods are synonymous with lower nutritional value. So, do not be surprised if many doubt the nutritional content of frozen vegetables. In fact, these vegetables have nutritional value that is almost equivalent to fresh vegetables.
The nutritional content of vegetables can last longer if these foods are frozen immediately after harvest. Once past harvest, the vegetables will lose their moisture. The starch and sugar content will also decrease little by little.
Frozen vegetable producers usually deal with this by harvesting vegetables that are completely ripe. At this time, the nutritional value of vegetables is at its peak. The freezing process will lock the various nutrients.
In fact, vegetables that are frozen immediately after harvest may contain more nutrients than fresh vegetables. This is because fresh vegetables can lose their nutrients during sorting, distribution and sale.
Changed nutritional content in frozen vegetables
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that the freezing process does not change the fiber, carbohydrate, or mineral content of vegetables much. However, water-soluble vitamins B complex and C may be reduced during the blanching process .
Blanching is a processing technique by putting food ingredients into boiling water for a few seconds. This process can remove dirt, sap, and enzymes that can damage the nutritional content of vegetables.
Below is a list of the nutritional content of vegetables that may change during the blanching and freezing process.
1. Vitamin B complex
The process of blanching and freezing can reduce the content of vitamins B1 and B9 in vegetables. This is because the B complex vitamins are more sensitive to high temperatures and light. Therefore, fresh vegetables are a better source of vitamin B complex.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water soluble just like the B complex vitamins. Exposure to high temperatures, light, and oxygen during the blanching process to storage can reduce the content of this vitamin slowly.
Phytochemicals are chemical substances found in plants. Frozen vegetables usually contain fewer phytochemicals than fresh vegetables. However, this substance may persist in vegetables that have skin on them.
4. Fat soluble vitamins
Vitamins A and E can last longer during the blanching and freezing process. Uniquely, the content of beta carotene (the raw material for vitamin A) in frozen peas and canned tomatoes is actually higher than fresh products.
Tips for storing frozen vegetables to maintain their quality
While frozen vegetables are almost as good quality as fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables are more prone to spoiling if you don’t store and process them properly.
Therefore, here are tips that you can follow to maintain the nutritional content without damaging the texture.
1. Choosing the right vegetables to freeze
Apart from relying on packaged frozen vegetables, you can also choose your own types of vegetables to freeze. However, keep in mind that not all vegetables can be stored in this condition.
There are several types of vegetables whose color and taste can change when frozen, such as cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, and small leaves such as celery . These vegetables contain a lot of water. When thawing, the water can affect the quality of the vegetables.
2. Choose the right storage container
If you buy packaged frozen vegetables, you can immediately store them in the freezer before processing. However, if you want to freeze your own vegetables, first prepare some special food plastic containers .
Containers must be airtight, moisture-proof, durable, easy to seal, and will not crumble if placed at low temperatures. The container must be able to protect the vegetables from oxidation which can change their structure.
3. Do not store vegetables for too long
Even though frozen vegetables last a long time, that doesn’t mean you can keep them in the refrigerator for a long time . Freezing only slows down the growth of bacteria that can spoil the quality of food, but doesn’t actually stop their activity.
The recommended storage time for vegetables is 8-12 months at a temperature of -17°C. So that the vegetables still taste fresh when eaten, it is better to use them in a shorter period of time than the recommended limit.
Frozen vegetables can be a more practical option than fresh vegetables. You also don’t have to worry about losing nutrients because this process does not change the nutritional value of vegetables.
In addition, make sure you store and process vegetables properly . This will maintain the quality of the vegetables you consume.