Tuesday, April 16, 2024

HOW FREEZING AFFECTS THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF VEGETABLES

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Are frozen vegetables nutritious? How should we defrost them? Read the answers in the following lines.

We are not one and two, but many of us who when we cook e.g. legumes or oily, prepare a larger quantity , divide it into portions and store it in tapers in the freezer. So, on days when we don’t want or can’t spend time in the kitchen, we just take out one of these tapers, heat it up and in a few minutes we have our meal ready.

But what about frozen vegetables? Is their nutritional profile affected in any way? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the changes in their nutritional value are small .

Of course, the final result depends on the food being frozen and on whether you have previously boiled or cooked it.

What happens to the water?

When water freezes, it expands and the ice crystals that form cause cell walls to rupture. These crystals are the main reason certain nutrients can be lost , such as water-soluble vitamins C and B. However, any losses are usually very small. Also, because of these crystals, the texture of the thawed products is much smoother than the raw ones. This is especially true for foods that are usually eaten raw , such as tomatoes.

 

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How nutritious are frozen vegetables?

The freezing process, when done correctly, can preserve food nutrients to some extent. This is because it slows down the rate of vitamin loss compared to if the food was kept at room temperature or refrigerated. Fruit and vegetables, for example, can be frozen within hours of being harvested, allowing nutrients to be sealed.

A study comparing the nutrients of fresh, fresh-frozen and 5-day refrigerated fruits and vegetables showed significant differences in their vitamin content . Where these differences were found, in most cases the frozen products outperformed those stored for 5 days.

Frozen fruits and vegetables should be consumed within 8 to 12 months for optimal quality, but even keeping them in the freezer for longer will not cause a problem in terms of their safety.

 

frozen food

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Tips for defrosting frozen vegetables

The best ways to reheat frozen vegetables while limiting nutrient loss are steaming , microwaving , stir frying and air frying . In fact, steaming is a better choice than boiling, as it reduces the loss of water-soluble vitamins in the water.

A study comparing different methods of defrosting broccoli found less overall nutrient loss during rapid microwave defrosting compared to longer boiling times. In fact, what matters most is the defrosting time .

Also, it is important not to defrost on the counter or in the sink with hot water, as this allows germs to grow quickly.

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