If you have ever wondered if frozen vegetables and fruits are less healthy than fresh, look for the answer in this blog. In addition, you will learn how to properly freeze fresh fruits, and how any of them behave when frozen.
Freezing food is a useful way to prevent food from being thrown away when it reaches its optimum point of maturity and nutritional quality.
Proper Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables
In case you decide to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables, it is important to follow a procedure that will preserve important nutrients and after thawing you can enjoy the benefits and taste of these foods. We hope the instructions below will make this process easier for you.
If you decide to freeze fruit at home, it is important to be aware of the fact that moisture and air are your enemies in this process. Therefore, follow the instructions that follow, in order to successfully store the fruits that you intended to store.
1. Wash and dry the fruit thoroughly
. If the fruit has a peel, peel it. Remove all damaged parts on the fruit. If the fruit is larger than the size of one bite, cut it into pieces of the same size, of your choice. Dry the fruit again with a towel or cloth. Try to remove as much water as possible.
2. Transfer the fruit to a tray lined with baking paper.
Arrange the fruit in one layer. Cover it with self-adhesive foil, transfer the tray to the freezer and freeze for a few hours or overnight. After that, take the tray out of the freezer. Carefully remove the fruit from the baking paper and transfer it to the freezer bags marked with stickers. Squeeze the air out of the bag as much as possible before closing it. This way you can store the fruit for up to 6 months.
Characteristics of fruit in case of freezing
– Apples: Sweet apples retain their taste better in the freezer than sour ones. Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice. if you freeze a large amount and want to prevent them from darkening, soak the apples in a solution of salt water while preparing them.
– Bananas: Peel them first, then cut them into rings, before freezing.
– Berries: Wash blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, remove the stalks if necessary, and dry thoroughly before freezing. Strawberries are also good when chopped.
– Citruses: We recommend that you freeze citrus juice or chopped pieces of peeled fruit. If you decide to freeze the juice, squeeze it and transfer it to an ice mold to freeze.
– Kiwi: Peel it first, then cut it into rings, before freezing.
– Mango: Peel and chop the mango before freezing.
– Melons and watermelons: All types of melons are good for freezing, while watermelons are not.
– Pineapple: Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice. If the pineapple is particularly ripe, save the rest of the juice and freeze it, too.
– Nuts: Peel peaches and plums before chopping and freezing. You don’t have to peel the apricots. Peel the cherries before freezing.
vegetables You can buy frozen vegetables in supermarkets, but if you decide to freeze certain foods yourself, read below which process you should follow to preserve the quality of raw materials.
1. Choose vegetables
This is the most important step. Vegetables must be fresh and crunchy. Rotten and old leaves can ruin everything you have frozen, affecting the different smell and taste of vegetables after thawing. For that reason, choose only young, fresh green leaves.
2. Wash the vegetables
Place the strainer in the sink and wash the vegetables intended for freezing thoroughly. Vegetables are always washed with cold water to keep them fresh.
3. Strain and chop the vegetables
After you have thoroughly washed each leaf, strain it and then dry it with towels or a cotton cloth. Place the dried vegetables on a chopping board. Remove stems and damaged parts of greens, keeping only the edible part of vegetables for freezing.
4. Prepare the dishes
Prepare a pot for cooking water in which you will blanch the vegetables, as well as a large bowl filled with ice and water to cool the vegetables after blanching.
5. Blanching vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that break down nutrients over time and change the color, taste and texture of food during its storage in the freezer. Leafy vegetables require a short heat treatment, called blanching, in hot water or steam, in order to destroy the enzymes before freezing. You need about 3 minutes to blanch the raštana, and about 2 minutes for all the other green vegetables.
As soon as you put the vegetables in boiling water, start measuring the time. Cover the sherpa with a lid and wait for the vegetables to be blanched at a high temperature for the mentioned period of time. You can use the water in which you cook vegetables up to 5 times, and then you need to change it (if you are preparing a larger amount of vegetables for freezing). Also, when a certain amount of water evaporates, be sure to add more to blanch the vegetables thoroughly.
6. Cool the vegetables
After this step, quickly transfer the vegetables to a bowl of water and ice to prevent further cooking. Vegetables should stay in cold water for as long as you blanched them in hot water. Once the vegetables have cooled, it is important to drain them well and prepare them for storage in the freezer.
7. Dispose of vegetables in “ziploc” bags
Put drained vegetables in “ziploc” bags, which you can get in better-supplied drugstores in our region. When closing the bags, try to squeeze as much air out of them as possible to prevent the vegetables inside the bag from drying out. With the help of “ziploc” bags, you can freeze fruits that you want to use for smoothies or anything else, and the bags are also suitable for multiple use.
8. The last step – freezing vegetables!
You can mark the bags with vegetables with a marker by entering the date of freezing, which will be extremely useful for you. If you are wondering how long you should store vegetables that you have frozen in this way, it is recommended that it be up to 12 months.
Are all vegetables edible after thawing?
Not because some types of vegetables tend to change their taste after thawing, so we would not recommend treating them this way. This group includes celery, cucumber, lettuce, onions, radishes, sprouts and tomatoes.
Do frozen vegetables and fruits lose their nutrients?
From the moment the fruits are harvested, their process of decay begins, and thus the food slowly begins to lose its nutritional value. Since you are unlikely to eat fruits and vegetables right after you pick them, it is important to know that frozen foods are just as good as fresh vegetables and fruits found in supermarkets and markets.
Industrial freezing of fruits is done very quickly, sometimes a few minutes after harvest, in shock chambers, at temperatures ranging from -33 ° C to -45 ° C. After instant freezing, fruits and vegetables are stored in freezing chambers, usually at a temperature of -18 ° C or -20 ° C. This process is carried out without the use of chemicals, and thus not only prevents the development of bacteria, with the extension of the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, but also preserves all nutrients, vitamins, minerals and plant fibers.
Are frozen vegetables and fruits less healthy than fresh?
Researchers from the University of California found that the content of vitamin C in corn, beans and blueberries is higher in frozen samples compared to samples from the refrigerator, while the content in strawberries, carrots, spinach, peas and broccoli is the same. However, beta-carotene (vitamin A) was less in frozen samples.
Several studies that compared fresh and frozen blueberries found that frozen ones retain antioxidant and orthocyanin content, without any significant losses. Another study found that fresh blueberries, which were refrigerated for 10 days (as usually happens on the way between harvest, store and your kitchen) had fewer phenolic compounds (phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins) compared to the same amount of blueberries that were were frozen for 90 days.