Freezing food helps us to extend shelf life, making it easier to store food longer. But did you know that there are other benefits of frozen food?
Let’s start at the very beginning. For over 3,000 years, people have found ways to store food in cold conditions in order to preserve crops and sustain themselves through the winter. Today, people freeze food for a wide variety of reasons, from the convenience and cost savings, to the nutritional benefits of preserving food at peak freshness.
It’s time we debunked the myth that fresh food is healthier than frozen. Freezing food allows us to essentially hit the “pause” button on the natural aging process of fresh food, locking in vitamins and nutrients for longer. Keep reading to learn about the key benefits of frozen food.
Naturally, the most popular benefit of freezing food is convenience. Frozen meals are easy to transport to the office and quick to heat up at home after an intense session at the gym. Frozen fruit is a staple of morning smoothies, and freezing pre-chopped veggies makes soups, stir-fries, and side dishes fast and easy. When you freeze your own produce or order a ready-made frozen meal online, it's ready when you are.
Preserve nutrition at peak ripeness
Fresh food is great, but frozen food is often more nutrient-rich than produce at the grocery store. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study comparing vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables when they were refrigerated, versus when they were frozen. The study measured nutritional content of corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, green beans, strawberries, and blueberries at various stages of storage, and showed that the overall vitamin content of frozen foods is comparable, if not higher than their fresh counterparts.
Why is that the case? When you purchase a banana, it's already traveled quite a long time before it reaches your local market. In order to arrive at the store ripe your produce gets picked before it reaches its peak, meaning it may never reach its full nutritional potential. In the days (or weeks) of travel from its home to yours, fresh produce has plenty of time for nutritional content to diminish, sometimes by up to 50%. In contrast, produce that's destined to be frozen is usually picked at ideal ripeness, then flash-frozen, providing the best preservation of nutrients.
Make your food last longer
If you’re buying produce fresh, you can help preserve your fruit and veggies at their peak by properly storing produce in your freezer. Freezing food properly can help it stay nutritious and delicious for up to 18 months!
First, ensure you’re freezing food at the peak of freshness—ideally as soon as you get it home unless it’s under ripe. Next, wash and dry your produce before you put them in the freezer. Don't put wet fruit or veggies in the freezer, or you'll end up with a frozen brick that’s hard to separate or blend. Finally, ensure you’re freezing food in an airtight container to ensure maximum freshness. Freezer burn happens when frozen food is exposed to air. It’s essentially harmless but can affect flavor, texture, and nutrition.
Reducing food waste
Because freezing is a great way to increase the lifespan of your food, it can also help reduce unnecessary food waste. Have you ever been tempted by the cost savings of a bag of perfectly ripe avocados? Then you’re familiar with the struggle of trying to consume six avocados in a span of 24 hours. Rather than wilding-out on guacamole, dice them up, and throw the chunks into a freezer-friendly container. You can use them later for a smoothie booster. You’ll reduce your household food waste by prepping what you need for the next couple of days, then freezing the rest.
Bonus tip: Are you a dedicated composter? Try keeping your compost bin in your freezer. You’ll eliminate any unpleasant odors in your kitchen by delaying the decaying process until it hits your outdoor bin.
Balanced nutrition with guidance from Registered Dietitians
Mindful meal prep and freezing your fresh fruit and veggies can help you ensure you’re eating a balanced diet that meets nutritional guidelines from Registered Dietitians. In addition to freezing your own meals and ingredients, there are plenty of frozen food benefits that make it worth making it a part of your busy lifestyle.
Performance Kitchen creates delicious, nutritionally balanced meals to fit a wide variety of lifestyles, diets, and tastes. Our fresh produce is picked at peak ripeness and then flash-frozen, resulting in the optimal preservation of nutrients. Instead of using excess sodium and sugar to give our meals flavor we use premium ingredients, herbs, and spices to create our globally-inspired recipes.