Updated: Mar 31, 2020
There is associated snobbery about frozen food versus fresh when it comes to fruit, meat and fish. We have all been known to shove the fish fingers and oven chips out for tea, when pushed for time but I wanted to delve a little deeper… Following on from my article about ‘Spring Cleaning’ and what keeps and what doesn’t in the fridge and freezer I started doing some research on frozen vegetables and fruit. I was impressed with the findings.
Frozen can be more nutritious than fresh…
Blueberries, Green Beans, Sweetcorn and Brussel Sprouts all were found to be higher in Vitamin C and polyphenols (micronutrients) than fresh.
A good example is frozen peas. They are frozen within two hours of harvest and retain nearly all the Vitamin C content. We cook these from frozen so they are as fresh and as beneficial as they possibly could be. Versus a box of blueberries that I purchased on Monday and are now falling in Vitamin C content daily while stored in the fridge until eaten.
Alternatively, cook fresh vegetables first, put them in a rich sauce and then freeze. Ratatouille or cauliflower cheese are just two dishes that keep well in the freezer — the sauce protects the veg.
A good tip about fish was to look for ‘frozen at sea’ on the packaging when you buy. This can be fresher than that from many of our local fish suppliers. Frozen fish also tends to be cheaper — by about 25 per cent — as it’s easier to transport. Prawns, shrimp, salmon fillets all are great frozen.
The problem really for us as consumers is that freezing fish or meat in a domestic freezer is not as effective as industrial freezing. A home freezer does the job slowly, causing large ice crystals to form, causing the texture of meat and fish to be stringy and chewy when defrosted and cooked. If you like to keep a stash of meat and fish in the freezer buy frozen rather than spending money on fresh and loosing the quality.
“Avoid using microwaves to defrost meat, as they always cook patchily. Instead, put meat in a freezer bag, tie a knot in the top and place it in a basin of cold water for an hour or two. Use frozen lamb, beef, pork and chicken in dishes such as shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, stews and curries and you’ll never know they weren’t made from fresh.” Daily Mail – Health Article.
Cakes and pastries freeze well too and if you defrost slowly to room temperature often taste as good as the day they were made…
Just made me think, frozen foods do get ‘bad press’ , don’t feel guilty when you grab the bag of ‘petits pois’ and at this time of year this is the best you can do… won’t be long before we can pick our own!