Monday, March 10, 2008

Fresh or Frozen: Which is More Nutritious?

Artical from Everyday Cheapskate

I’ll bet I am the first to wish you Happy Frozen Food Month! No kidding. And why should we even care about such a thing? Because during March, all kinds of frozen foods are on sale to celebrate Frozen Food Month. Might be a good time to stock up.

Even though there’s evidence that the process of freezing food to extend its useful life can be traced back to the 1600s, it wasn’t until 1927 that a guy named Clarence Birdseye developed a way to make flash-freezing both economical and commercial.

As you wander the frozen food aisle this month, you’ll surely see Birds Eye on many of the items. And now you know the connection.

So, you may be wondering, just how nutritious are commercially-frozen vegetables compared to fresh vegetables? You’re going to be surprised. In many aspects, frozen are actually more nutritious than fresh.

Here’s the deal: Most vitamins will keep well in frozen vegetables. Carotene (a compound that is converted to vitamin A in the body) may actually be better preserved in frozen produce because packaging keeps the vegetables away from light, which destroys carotene. For example, frozen peas (one of your columnist’s all-time favorite foods) typically have about 60 percent more carotene than fresh peas, which have been exposed to light during their trip to the market and while waiting to be purchased.

Some losses of vitamin C and folic acid occur during commercial freezing; however the vitamin losses associated with blanching and the thawing/cooking process are similar to those that occur during the normal cooking of fresh vegetables. This means that, provided they have been stored and then cooked properly, frozen vegetables provide similar levels of nutrition to fresh vegetables.

So let’s offer a hearty round of applause to Clarence Birdseye for figuring out how to freeze food fast and keep it frozen all the way to our grocery carts.

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