The current freezing processes maintain well the nutritional characteristics of vegetables, fish or some fruits. The problem is ultra-processed foods, which should be avoided in all cases, whether they are frozen or not. Frozen products are increasingly present in Indonesia kitchens. As it happens in the rest of the developed world, where the hurry prevents many people from going to the market on a weekly basis, the supply of frozen products is increasingly widespread.

The key is in the label

A key to fleeing the harmful process is to carefully read the labeling of the food. It is important that its composition is as similar as possible to a homemade dish. This means that in a vegetable stew (frozen or not).

Freezing at home is not the same

Industrial freezing uses fresh and quality raw material and, in many cases, is more effective than domestic freezing because it freezes a fresh product under optimal conditions. A fast freezing and very low temperature allow keeping essential nutrients almost intact, unlike what happens at home, where freezing is usually done more slowly and at a higher temperature. This means that it is better to buy a frozen product than to buy it fresh and freeze it at home, where it is likely to lose more nutritional power.

Vegetables and fruits, are they good frozen?

Some studies found hardly any nutritional differences (minerals and antioxidants) between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. In part, this is due to the fact that the products destined for freezing are selected and processed under optimal conditions, at the exact moment of harvesting and when they have barely lost their nutritional value. There are some exceptions: peas, which so often eat frozen, do win if they are eaten fresh.

Why are frozen products cheaper?

The lower cost is due to the fact that they are collected in times of greater supply and abundance when the price is cheaper. Although it can also happen that the best-frozen food products in Indonesia are exceeded the price of the fresh version, something that would be explained by the quality of the food when it was frozen and by the techniques used.

What to freeze (and what not)

Hard-boiled eggs, salad greens (lettuce, watercress, tomato, cucumber, for example), pasta, rice, and foods with high-fat content generally do not resist freezing well. The current deep-freezing systems allow the freezing of many vegetables with firm tissue such as carrots, artichokes, peppers or beans. This system prevents the formation of ice crystals that can break the fibers of plant tissues, which subsequently (when the food is thawed) can cause the loss of the vegetable's internal liquids. The green leafy vegetables also accept the deep freeze, like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries. Not so tropical fruits such as pineapple or banana.

And the meat and the fish?

Freezing maintains the nutritional value of fish and prevents the growth and development of bacteria. This is so as long as the cold chain is not broken, that is if the proper freezing temperatures are maintained from when the fish is frozen until it reaches the home. In this way, the high biological value of its proteins is preserved, as well as the amount of unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3, vitamins, and minerals.

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