If you can’t eat fresh vegetables straight from the garden, what’s the next best alternative? No, it’s not necessarily ‘fresh’ from the shop…And how and when do you harvest your crops?
Although you might think that something that looks juicy and nutritious at the fresh food market is a near-second best, it’s not always true. In fact, new research from the University of Georgia¹ shows that the nutritional level of FROZEN vegetables can be superior to their ‘fresh’ competitors.
The problem is that ‘fresh’ usually means 1 to 5 days of refrigerated storage after picking and before consumption, during transport, shop storage and then in the home fridge. During this cold storage several nutrients are lost, particularly Vitamin A and also the glucosinolates found in brassica crops like broccoli.
In contrast, frozen vegetables are snap frozen on site immediately after picking. Although this can degrade some nutrients, most are locked in and some made even more bio-available by the process. The researchers found that where there was a significant difference in nutrient value, the frozen food was mostly superior.
If you are growing your own vegetables at home, this study also has implications for how often you pick and then store your harvest. Harvest only what you need that day and consume it without cold storage.
Although, of course, the most important thing is to just eat vegetables, whatever their source, but now there’s good reason not to diss the frozen version!
¹ Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables by Linshan Lia, Ronald B. Pegga, Ronald R. Eitenmillera, Ji-Yeon Chunb, Adrian L. Kerrihardc in Journal of Food Composition and Analysis Volume 59, June 2017, Pages 8–17 – Read more