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Are frozen vegetables and fruit less nutritious than fresh?
When fruit and vegetables reach the peak of ripeness, it’s at this point that they have the richest supply of nutrients and vitamins possible.
Fresh produce is typically picked before it has ripened, which gives fruit and vegetables less time to develop the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Outward signs of ripening still occur, but this produce won’t have the same nutritive value as it would if it had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine or in the ground.
Another reason fresh produce is often picked before this point is so it can be transported with minimal damage to the product. During the long distances that most fruit and vegetables travel to get to a supermarket shelf, they are exposed to heat and light which may diminish some of the more sensitive vitamins, such as vitamin C.
Frozen produce is generally picked at the peak of its ripening and then frozen immediately using a process called blanching, where the product is cooked briefly in boiling water to sterilise it. This can cause some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to leach out or be destroyed, however this is something that also occurs when boiling vegetables. The produce then undergoes a flash-freezing process that then locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state.
Frozen produce can lose some more of its nutritive content when reheated, so reheating it in a microwave or steaming is the best way to keep produce nutritionally intact.
While it is recommended to buy fresh fruit and vegetables when they are in season as they will have endured a shorter transport period and have been picked closer to their peak ripening time, studies have found very little difference between fresh and frozen produce.
Busy mums will no doubt be happy to hear that, as frozen vegetables are ready-prepared and can therefore save precious time in the evenings. When buying frozen produce, take care to choose a trusted brand, such as Green Isle, to ensure fruit and vegetables have the maximum nutrionational content.
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