Jar of Facts – Frozen Food
Everyone today is quite health conscious. But lifestyles do not permit one to spend much time in kitchen and do everything from chopping, boiling, cooking, etc. Health cannot be compromised either. Many people have started moving towards frozen food. But there are still many who believe that frozen food is not fresh, that it always contains preservatives, and that it is unhealthy. Considering this misconception, we bring to you myths and facts related to frozen food and some tips on handling frozen food.
Myth 1: Fresh is fresh because you just bought it from market
Fact: Fresh fruits and vegetables may not be consumed for a significant length of time following harvest, during which time nutrient degradation may occur.
Vitamin C is water soluble and sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen, making it susceptible to loss during both home cooking of fresh fruits and vegetables and thermal processing. For that reason, loss of vitamin C is often used as an index of nutrient degradation. Refrigeration slows deterioration of vitamin C, as demonstrated in the case of broccoli, where losses after 7 days of storage were 0 at 0°C but 56% at 20°C.
Myth 2: Frozen food is not fresh
Fact: In reality, freezing locks in freshness, flavor and nutrients. Frozen food may be even more nutritious than some of their fresh counterparts available in markets because frozen foods are often processed at their peak ripeness, a time when they are packed with nutrients.
Myth 3: All frozen foods contain preservatives
Fact: It is the most common misconception. Preservatives are not necessary to preserve frozen food. Freezing in itself is a natural preservative. In fact, many of your favorite frozen foods, like frozen French Fries are free from preservatives.
Myth 4: Fresh vegetables are healthier than frozen
Fact: While produce at your local vendor’s might appear fresher, many of them were actually picked days or weeks in advance. Quality content and nutrition is lost in the process. Post that, they are transported to various markets. The more time taken for produce to reach you, the greater is the loss of nutrients. Frozen vegetables, on the other hand, can be flash-frozen. Flash-freezing is a process that quickly freezes vegetables. This locks the nutrition, flavor and quality content of vegetables. Frozen vegetables are therefore just as nutritious as the freshly picked produce from the farm as freezing naturally preserves their nutrition content.
Myth 5: Ready to cook Frozen foods is high on cholesterol and trans-fat
Fact: This depends on product to product. Many frozen snacks companies use only non-hydrogenated vegetable oil. They are therefore free from cholesterol and trans-fat.
Tips on handling frozen foods:
1. Do not thaw – Fry them straight out of freezer as they do not need to be thawed.
2. Frozen food should be the last item on your grocery list as the sooner it is shifted to freezer the better.
3. Store at the back of freezer: The temperature at the back of the freezer is less likely to fluctuate. It is the best place to store your frozen snacks.
4. Frozen foods should be stored at a temperature -18 degrees C. in the freezer.