Frozen foods are becoming increasingly popular as they are convenient to preserve the nutritional value of food. Home-cooked meals are so much easier to prepare when you’ve got the ingredients for it readily available at home. There is much speculation as to whether freezing foods provides the nutritional value that combats fresh foods. Are the claims of nutritional value backed by science? Let’s find out.
Chemical and Physical reactions
When freezing foods such as fruits and vegetables the chemical changes that take place are the most important consideration to nutritional value. Even as fresh foods, there are chemical changes taking place which cause the foods to spoil as is the natural process. Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritional when they are harvested as that is the peak of their ripeness. After the degradation process begins. To ensure that the frozen foods are preserved with the most nutritional value possible we recommend that you freeze them as soon as they are harvested. Freezing foods will help inactivate the enzymes which are present in fruits and vegetables that lead to their rotting and loss of nutritional value.
With the help of blanching the enzymes are inactivated by exposing vegetables to boiling water or steam briefly and then cooled. This process helps destroy microorganisms and provide intact nutritional value. Enzymes can lead to the loss of vitamin C and therefore blanching of vegetables is very important. Fruits, on the other hand, are consumed raw which is why they cannot be blanched top combat the effect of enzymes. Ascorbic acid helps prevent the enzymes from deteriorating fruits. Ascorbic acids are available for commercial purposes and they are often mixed with sugars or used in pure form.
There are many home remedies that can help enzyme-activated deterioration. Using vinegar solutions of coating fruits in lemon juice can temporarily slow down the enzymes although they are not as effective as ascorbic acid.
Another top tip that Frozen Food Suppliers share with their customers is that when freezing foods there is often a rancid oxidative flavour which develops due to the frozen foods come in to contact with each other. This can be avoided by using wrapping material or plastic containers when freezing food products. This will limit air and keep your food products from smelling or tasting foul when you defrost them.
Freezing and textural changes
Freezing food products is essentially a process of freezing the water content present in the food products. The water and chemical substances are present within rigid plant cells which makes up for 90 of the weight of the food products such as fruits and vegetables.
When the water content is frozen, the ice crystals result in the plant cells rupturing. The physical appearance of products that are consumed raw will be noticeably different. Tomatoes and celery will be much softer and thawed. The appearance of fruits will not be as thawed comparatively, and the impact of the fruit tissue will be less noticeable.
Cooking can often the cell walls as well which is why the physical changes caused by freezing are not that apparent in food products that will be cooked prior to consuming. Changes are barely noticeable in peas, corns and beans because they are high in starch.
Freezing mistakes to avoid.
Wholesale food distributors know that overloading the freezer with products that are not frozen all at once will lead to products freezing slowly and in lacking in nutritional value.
The plant cell rupture can be controlled by freezing produce rapidly which will lead to many small ice crystals being formed. Set the temperature of the freezer to the coldest and then place the products at the shelves that are the coldest for rapid freezing. We suggest that you put about 2-3 pounds of vegetables in each cubic foot for about 24 hours. Overloading the freezer can lead to poor-quality of products as well as too much time taken trying to freeze products.