With ample evidence that frozen is just a good as fresh when it comes to getting delicious, healthy fruits into your diet, you might still hear that voice in the back of your head – the one hanging on to the notion of “fresh” – the one that makes you feel that during the winter months when produce shelves are wanting, frozen is a necessary compromise.
It’s understandable. Fresh is great, and it has long been a mantra for healthy eaters. And, old notions of frozen – those established prior to quick freezing technology – can bring to mind ideas of ice-encased foods that lack taste or nutritional value. But those ideas are old-school. A rising interest in competitive prices and low waste, along with an effort by consumers to raise the bar on their nutrition has only contributed to making frozen, well, cool.
It’s important to get your servings of fruits and veggies. They are simply the best avenue to maintaining weight, improving health, and preventing disease. So, in an effort to reinforce what those who enjoy their fruit every season of the year already know, we’re debunking some frozen myths (using the wild blueberry as a case in point) that will help even fresh fanatics turn toward the freezer section.
Myth #1: Frozen isn’t as nutritious as fresh.
Not so. In fact, this myth has been proven to be untrue for quite a while. Way back in 1998, the Food & Drug Administration confirmed that frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh – great news for those seeking year-round healthy foods. Consider this: wild blueberries top the ORAC chart of 40 tested foods, making them the #1 antioxidant fruit – fresh or frozen – it makes no difference.
Myth #2: OK, but frozen definitely isn’t better than fresh.
This one may surprise you: Quick frozen foods like wild blueberries actually can be. They retain their nutritional value longer, and they are preserved at their peak, not before. Since development of a technology known as the individually quick-frozen (IQF) method, foods can be frozen when they are at their peak of freshness. Some fresh-sold fruits are picked early to ensure they won’t spoil during the long shipping and storage, but not those that are quick-frozen. And, their value doesn’t deteriorate during storage periods, something that is inevitable with fresh-sold fruit. The ability to be captured at their peak of taste, ripeness and nutrition means everything you like about your favorite fruits is captured and locked in for the duration.
Myth #3: Frozen means a glob of ice.
Chalk this one up to quick freezing technology as well. IQF means the integrity of delicate foods like berries is completely preserved. The wild blueberry, for example, as small as it is, holds its shape and texture through the quick freezing method. Because the “I” in IQF stands for Individual, frozen berries maintain their identities – they don’t glob together in balls of ice. They maintain their quality for more than two years, too. So, if you still think using frozen foods means chopping through the tundra, think again.
Myth #4: I cook, and frozen is harder to use.
This is simply not the case. Performance is first class for IQF fruit. For example, blueberries have superior performance when used in recipes, and retain their structure even better while frozen – and they can be used in most recipes that call for blueberries. Plus, frozen is a better choice for concocting frosty, nutritious smoothies. (Also, did you know frozen wild blueberries have less water than cultivated blueberries, making them the better choice for most recipes?)
Myth #5: Big frozen packages just aren’t convenient.
Don’t kid yourself. Single servings are easy to extract from the freezer for use in meals, in recipes, or for snacking. Stand-up bottoms with resealable zip pouches are available for some premium products. And, frozen is always there when you want it – whenever you need a cup, a scoop or a sprinkle. What could be more convenient?
Myth #6: Frozen fruit isn’t premium quality.
Debunked. The most popular frozen fruit brands use only premium fruit for freezing, yielding a consistently superior product.
Myth #7: With frozen, I don’t know what I’m getting.
Frozen fruit is just that: fruit. Unless the label says otherwise, frozen fruits like blueberries contain one ingredient. They have no caloric syrups and additives, and are just pure, unadulterated, nutrient-rich fruit.
Myth #8: Impressive. So, frozen must be more expensive.
Not a chance. Frozen fruits are usually found at a remarkable value when compared to in-season pricing. And, you can buy them in economically sound bulk packages knowing that no aging or spoiling means no waste, adding to the economic benefit.
Forgoing fruit during the long winter season? How uncool. Now is no time to compromise on your health. Every season is the perfect season for taste and nutrition – go frozen!