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frozen foods versus fresh

Alternative Names 
frozen versus fresh produce

Certain fruits and vegetables can be frozen before retail sale to maintain flavour and prevent spoiling. Many types of fruits and vegetables come in both fresh and frozen forms. Examples include:
  • peas
  • corn
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • mixed vegetables
  • vegetable stir-fry mixes
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
The technology to freeze certain foods provides the shopper with more food choices. Out of season produce can be available throughout the year. Producers also are able to transport and store foods without them spoiling. Food scientists can measure the nutrient content of different foods. Foods are analysed for various minerals, vitamins and fibre. Studies that have compared frozen produce to fresh produce show that in most cases the frozen fruits and vegetables retain their nutrients.

A quick-freeze technique is used to freeze produce. This process preserves the food's nutrients. When fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to light and air, the vitamins in the food break down over time. Fresh produce that has been sitting on the shelf long past its harvest date may actually be lower in nutrients than food that is frozen immediately after picking. The highest levels of nutrients can be found in fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season. Otherwise, frozen varieties are a good choice. Using frozen produce is a great way to get a wide variety of important fruits and vegetables into a balanced diet.

Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD
Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr John Hearne
Last Updated: 5/02/2005
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

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