Feeding a family – or just yourself for that matter – requires making smart choices, and frozen foods can fill the bill.
Researchers looked at blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, green beans, corn, spinach, cauliflower, and peas. In most cases, the frozen produce had as many nutrients as the newly purchased fresh samples, and sometimes more than the fresh ones kept in the refrigerator.
Frozen peas had more vitamins C, A, and folate than fresh peas that had been stored, and frozen corn and blueberries also topped the fresh-stored folate levels.
Many people share the fear that freezing foods reduces the nutrient benefits, however frozen foods offer inherent advantages for today’s health and eco-conscious consumers. The freezing process essentially preserves nutrients and quality when food is frozen at its peak. It also reduces the growth of microorganisms that cause spoilage and foodborne illness. There’s also an added benefit, because you use only what you need when you need it, food lasts longer, creating less waste to be sent to a landfill.
The frozen food industry has also made great strides in improving the nutritional value of prepared foods. The recipes for many products now contain less fat, sugar, and sodium. Others make use of whole wheat grains and added fiber, contain zero trans fat and feature reduced portion sizes for sensible eating. All-natural vegetable pizzas, sweet potato fries, and frozen fruit smoothies are just a few of the many examples of frozen food products that play an integral part in a healthy and well-balanced diet.
10 Helpful Tips & Things to Remember:
– Do not buy frozen foods unless they are frozen solid and do not contain ice crystals, which may be the result of thawing and refreezing.
– To avoid freezer burn and ice crystals forming on foods, wrap the foods with plastic wrap or freezer paper and cover with aluminum foil. If you are storing foods for an extended period of time, also place the packaged food in a sealed freezer baggie.
– Refreezing food will lower the quality. When foods are frozen the cellular fluid expands into crystals and causes a break in the cell membrane, disrupting other structures, thus changing the texture of the food. This may alter the taste of the food as bacterial growth starts
when they warm-up and refreezing may just place the bacteria in a state of animation until the food is thawed out.
– Date all frozen foods using a piece of tape & permanent marker.
– When you go away on vacation, place a baggie with a few ice cubes in the freezer. If a power failure occurs while you are gone and the food thaws and then refreezes, you will know about it when you get home.
– Always remove meat from store packages and re-wrap using special freezer paper or aluminum foil if you are planning to freeze meats for more than two to three weeks.
– Baker’s yeast will freeze for years without ill effects, while brown sugar will not harden if kept in the freezer.
– Unsalted butter can be stored in the freezer indefinitely if it is wrapped and sealed airtight. Salted butter can be stored for a shorter period of time in its original container with no wrapping.
– The freezer in your refrigerator is not the same as a food freezer. It is best used for storing foods for short periods only. Foods should be frozen as quickly as possible and temperatures should be 0 degrees or below.
– When freezing casseroles, cook for a shorter period of time than normal, then cool quickly to stop cooking action. Make sure it is packed as solidly as possible, the fewer air spaces the better.
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