Are frozen vegetables healthy?
It is often believed that frozen foods (both vegetable mixes from the package and freshly frozen meat) are less healthy and significantly inferior to ordinary foods in their nutritional and vitamin profile. Say, in the freeze "solid chemistry" and there is nothing useful. However, this is not entirely true, and in reality “fresh” fish, meat and vegetables from the supermarket can be even more harmful than frozen ones.
The reason for this is that the delivery of products to the point of sale can take weeks. Vegetables and fruits are cut long before being ready and ripen during transportation, plus they are processed with compounds that prevent the formation of mold and the growth of microbes. Not to mention that salmon grown in Chile will not physically survive to a supermarket in faraway Russia without freezing.
How do frozen foods do?
In most cases, shock freezing is a typical industrial method of manufacturing frozen foods (including fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat). Unlike a conventional refrigerator, which requires up to 2-3 hours to freeze, aggressive blowing of food by a stream of air with a temperature of minus 35 ° C ensures freezing of the product in 20-30 minutes.
The main advantage of this technology is that shock freezing interferes with the crystallization of ice and prevents the destruction of the texture of the product, being the most effective method to maintain freshness and original taste. It is also important that vegetables for shock freezing are cut off at the peak and at the maximum level of ripening - in contrast to “fresh” vegetables from the supermarket.
The benefits of frozen vegetables
Despite the fact that frozen vegetables undergo a heat treatment before the freezing process - for example, green vegetables (primarily broccoli and green beans) are poured with boiling water and a solution of ascorbic acid to preserve color - scientific studies show that this practically does not affect their vitamin and mineral profile.
In fact, some of the water-soluble vitamins (primarily vitamins of group B and vitamin C ) lost during the shock freezing of foods (2) would still be lost in the case of the usual preparation of vegetables - the aforementioned broccoli and green beans must be cooked before use. In turn, freshly frozen meat does not differ from the usual nutrient profile.
How to cook frozen foods?
The best method of preparing frozen vegetables is to steam cook in a double boiler or in a pan with a pan. After 5-7 minutes, the vegetables are ready for use as an ingredient in dishes - for example, for frying or for stewing with meat. Frozen green peas or corn can simply be boiled in boiling water for 2-3 minutes - the presence of the peel will protect against leaching of vitamins.
However, it is recommended to defrost frozen meat and fish before cooking for several hours at room temperature (and high-quality steak meat is best defrosted in a regular refrigerator chamber). This will preserve the texture of the product - when defrosting beef or salmon in the microwave, they will become much tougher.
Frozen vegetables - cons and harm
The main disadvantage of frozen foods is that they can only be thawed once. If, for any reason, vegetables, meat or fish were accidentally thawed in the supermarket, and then again “turned into ice”, then the taste and texture qualities of such products will be practically destroyed. This is especially critical for frozen fruits.
Also, during the heating of frozen semi-finished products, trans-fats harmful to health can form in their composition - however, we are talking only about frozen burgers, lasagna, pizzas, nuggets and other fast food that initially contain cheap and low-quality vegetable fats (for example, refined corn or palm oil ).
The composition of frozen mixtures of vegetables
Note that the so-called "Hawaiian mixture" (the composition of such a frozen mixture includes rice, green peas, corn and sweet pepper) is extremely difficult to call a healthy or dietary product. The only source of vitamins in it is red pepper - neither corn, nor peas, nor, especially white rice, completely possess them.
Unfortunately, the share of rice in the composition of such “vegetable” mixtures often exceeds the share of frozen vegetables, while the glycemic index of such rice is frankly high. Carbohydrates also make up more than half of the mass of sweet corn, sweet pepper and young peas. As a result, the "Hawaiian mixture" is far from the most useful choice for a diet on frozen vegetables.
Frozen foods: how to buy the best?
Before buying frozen food, it is recommended that you carefully study the packaging and the bag in which the vegetables or meat are packed. The composition should list exclusively “ordinary” ingredients (that is, the fruits and vegetables themselves), but not vegetable oils, starch, and other fast food companions - most often frozen convenience foods will be worse than their fresh counterparts.
A bag of frozen vegetables should not resemble a piece of ice - if you physically cannot "probe" single fragments, in no case do not buy a similar product. It is likely that it was frozen repeatedly - in this case, the contents will be suitable exclusively for the preparation of cream soup or casseroles, as the texture will be destroyed.
Despite the fact that frozen foods are often considered harmful, the vitamin content in freshly frozen vegetables is almost identical to the usual ones. In turn, buying frozen meat and fish (especially salmon) is the only way to get a quality product thousands of kilometers from the place where animals were raised. However, it is important to thaw frozen meat carefully.
- Frozen food, source
- Frozen Vegetables Are Hot !, source