‘Frozen versus fresh’ produce generates a lot of debate in the grocery world and two of the main key reasons why shoppers tend to prefer fresh off the shelf items are freshness and nutrient quantity.
But are off the shelf items fresher and more nutrient dense than their frozen plastic bag counter parts?
As soon as they are harvested, plant foods immediately begin losing their nutrient quantity (link) through a process called ‘respiration’ triggered by the plant’s enzymes. Factor in the transportation, handling and pest control processes in between the farm and the grocery shelves your fruits and vegetables might have lost around half their original amount of nutrients.
But a true case for a large quantity of the ‘fresh’ produce we buy off the shelves at our local Woolies or Coles.
Fortunately, we have frozen produce to the rescue! Studies suggest that your typical bag of frozen broccoli or mixed vegetables contain pretty much the same (if not more) nutrients than their fresh counterparts. How is this possible?
Well when fruits and vegetables are harvested during their peak seasons, they are snap frozen to prevent plant enzymes from that ‘respiration’ process which can cause loss of colour, flavour and most importantly taste and nutrients!
Of course, this isn’t to say that you should try and get everything frozen. Some vegetables which are rich in Vitamin A, E and Cartenoids are the ideal frozen produce candidate. This means broccoli, leafy greens like spinach and carrots.
Berries are also another quality frozen item to buy.
The last thing you should also know is that frozen produce are generally much more cheaper than their fresh counter parts because of less processing like shipping and handling involved!
Want more science? Here’s a video from the popular science channel ASAPScience on YouTube: