Many times we think that by consuming fruit or vegetable not frozen, that is to say the one exposed in supermarkets or the specialists of the stores, those that gain in the quality and in the health, besides obtaining all the benefits that contribute us denominated fresh products and Which was similar to saying “fresh top quality“.
” Freshly recolected fruits and vegetables directly from the farm or your own garden in their proper seasonality are of the highest quality, without a doubt.
However, if you shop at the supermarket frozen products can be the same, in some cases even more nutritious than the fresh ones.
At the end of the day, frozen fruits and vegetables are a more convenient and profitable alternative to fresh options, the worst thing is that we do not know why this is so.
The best thing is to choose a mixture of fresh and frozen products to obtain the best variety of nutrients but, of course, for what you should know the process of nutritional deterioration of fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables until it reaches our hill low.
In the following sections we try to explain the way of the names of fresh fruits and vegetables and the prices with the supposed negative effect that is produced by those that are frozen.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The vast majority of fruit and vegetable crops are harvested before maturation in order to have sufficient time during transportation to reach optimum maturity, but as a counterpart, it leaves less time to develop all the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The transport of fresh products is usually carried out under the optimum and controlled environmental conditions of refrigeration for serial works and chemical treatments to avoid deterioration.
Usually the transport can last between several days or weeks until it arrives at your point of distribution.
In addition, once they arrive at the supermarket, fruits and vegetables can spend an additional one to three days on exhibitors and up to 7 more days in household refrigerators before being ingested.
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Unlike fresh fruits and vegetables, those that are frozen, are from crops harvested at their maximum maturity, really the time when both fruit and vegetables contain all their nutrients.
The process of freezing the vegetables is to wash them, to whiten them (placing the products in boiling water for a few minutes), and cut them for later freezing. The next step would be the packaging of frozen products.
Fruits are not bleached because their texture will be damaged, being the reason to treat them with ascorbic acid, a derivative of vitamin C, or sugar to avoid spoiling them.
” Contrary to what we can imagine, no chemical is added before freezing.
What is the result of freezing ?.
In general, freezing helps retain the highest level of nutrients in fruits and vegetables as long as frozen foods are not stored for more than a year, from which time some of the nutrients will start to break down .
On the other hand, during the bleaching process in vegetables (it does not affect fruits) this already caused certain nutrients to be lost, in fact, the greatest nutrient loss occurs at this time.
The main purpose of bleaching is the elimination of any harmful bacteria and prevent loss of taste, color and texture. However, it also results in the loss of water-soluble nutrients, such as B vitamins and vitamin C.
The degree of nutrient loss varies, depending on the type of plant and the length of bleaching. Generally, losses range from 10-80%, with averages around 50%.
One study found that bleaching reduces water soluble antioxidant activity in peas by 30% and in spinach by 50%. However, the levels were kept constant during storage at about -20 ° C.
According to these data and some research they also suggest that frozen products can retain their antioxidant levels despite the loss of water soluble vitamins.
” Vegetables mostly look more affected than fruit by bleaching that produces a loss of antioxidants, B vitamins and vitamin C, however, nutrient levels remain fairly stable after freezing.
Nutrients in fresh and frozen products decrease during storage
Shortly after harvest, fresh fruits and vegetables begin to lose moisture, have a greater risk of deterioration and a decrease in nutritional value.
One study found a decrease in nutrients after 3 days of cooling, falling values below the levels of frozen varieties. Being this is more common in soft fruits.
Vitamin C in fresh vegetables begins to decrease immediately after harvest and continues to do so during storage.
For example, green peas have been shown to lose up to 51% of their vitamin C during the first 24-48 hours after harvest.
Vegetables stored at room temperature or refrigerated, generates the reduction of antioxidants.
However, although vitamin C can easily be lost during storage, antioxidants such as carotenoids and phenolics may actually increase. This is possibly due to the continued maturation to which the products are exposed and observed mainly in some fruits.
” It is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as soon as possible.
Fresh or Frozen: What is more nutritious?
The results of studies that have compared the nutrient content of frozen and fresh products vary slightly.
This is because some studies use freshly harvested products, which eliminates the effects of storage and transport time, while others use products from supermarkets.
In addition, differences in processing and measurement methods may influence results.
However, in general, evidence suggests that freezing can preserve nutritional value, and that the nutritional content of fresh and frozen products is virtually similar.
When studies report nutrient declines in some frozen products, they are usually small
In addition, levels of vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals and fiber are similar in fresh and frozen products. They are generally unaffected by bleaching.
Studies comparing supermarket products with frozen varieties – such as peas, green beans, carrots, spinach and broccoli – found that antioxidant activity and nutrient content were similar.
In fact we could say that frozen products are nutritionally similar to fresh produce. When nutrient declines are reported in frozen products, they are usually small.
Frozen products may contain more vitamin C
Frozen products may contain higher levels of certain nutrients. This is most commonly seen in studies comparing frozen products with fresh varieties that have been stored at home for a few days.
For example, frozen peas or spinach may have more vitamin C than fresh peas or spinach purchased from supermarkets that have been stored at home for several days.
For some fruits, lyophilization resulted in a higher content of vitamin C compared to fresh varieties.
In addition, a study suggests that the processes undertaken to freeze fresh produce may increase the availability of fiber, making it more soluble.
” Interestingly you could say that frozen fruits and vegetables can have higher levels of vitamin C than products that have been stored at home for several days.