08 July, 2011
Frozen foods have been in existence since the 1930s and often are associated with TV dinners and other convenience items. They are considered less wholesome and less healthy than fresh because of the heavy processing, artificial ingredients and additives used for early frozen foods. In truth, there are a lot of advantages to buying frozen foods or freezing your own related to quality, nutrition, cost and safety.
Frozen produce is picked at its peak and flash frozen to maintain all the flavor and nutrients. The Frozen Food Foundation says that frozen fruits and vegetables are equally, and possibly more nutritious than fresh. When you buy fresh produce in the grocery store, it may have been harvested days before and may be past its peak by the time arrives. The produce may also not have been ripe when it was picked and may not be ready when it goes on sale.
Frozen foods keep longer than fresh refrigerated foods because the freezing process suspends enzyme activity that causes the food to rot. Depending on the type of food, you can store it for several months without losing quality. You can store it indefinitely if you use free-standing freezer kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frozen dinners give busy people a way to feed themselves and their families healthy meals in minutes. Frozen foods have come a long way from processed mystery meats, mealy mashed potatoes and mushy vegetables. Manufacturers have refined preparation, storage and reheating techniques to create healthy, flavorful, gourmet-quality meals and entrees. Frozen meals also expose people to foods they might not otherwise eat, such as ethnic foods with long preparation times, or specialty foods that may be too expensive to obtain fresh.
Freezing suspends microbial and fungal activity in the food. As long as the food remains frozen, it is safe. With canned or jarred foods, minute leaks in the container could cause dangerous bacteria to grow without you realizing. These foods may become contaminated without changing the appearance of the container. Refrigeration slows the process, but there is still a risk of microbial or fungal growth.