Think fresh meals are better than frozen? think again!
As anyone old enough to remember TV dinners can tell you, there is a reason why frozen meals earned a bad rap early on: processed, additive-laden, and free of flavor—unless you count the taste of the aluminum tray, that is.
However, today’s frozen meals are a far cry from the foil-encased atrocities of yesteryear, though this doesn’t mean they’ve escaped their stigma of being inferior to fresh meals.
But are they?
Let’s have a look!
Yes, Frozen is Better—Here’s Why
When it comes to organic, plant-based eating, fresher is better since shelf-life plays such an important role in the nutrition and quality of your food.
However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, freezing is one of humankind’s oldest methods of keeping food fresh. It is also perhaps the only methods of food preservation which doesn’t alter the chemical makeup of food, such as with pickling, culturing, smoking or cooking.
And frozen foods are:
- Picked at the peak of ripeness—According to Mary Jane Brown, PhD, for fruits and vegetables to arrive fresh at stores thousands of miles from farms, they need to be picked early enough to ripen during processing, packing, shipping and time spent in stores and your refrigerator. This means harvesting long before nutritional content and flavors reach their peak, and results in less-nutritious, blander-tasting fruits and vegetables than those which mature naturally and is in addition to their being treated with chemicals to slow spoilage. However, frozen foods can be picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen immediately for optimum flavor and nutrition, and are either left untreated, or are treated with natural ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to retard spoilage.
- Quick-frozen—In 1924, Clarence Birdseye noticed that fish he caught in Labrador, NF, Canada would freeze nearly instantly after being pulled from the water. This would preserve the fish for months after, and without altering the texture or flavor. From this he developed the quick-freezing method commonly used today which doesn’t allow crystals to form and rupture the cell membranes of foods, thus leaving them as delicious and firm as when fresh.
- Less waste—The best thing about organic foods can also be the most frustrating, since a lack of preservatives or genetic modifications usually means short shelf life. This often results in more spoiled food being thrown away unless it is carefully managed—or better yet, frozen.
- More savings—Since frozen foods can be stored for long periods, companies can produce larger batches to lower their costs and charge you less. This is in addition to less spoilage waste and less need for labor-intensive management of fresh products.
Frozen vs Fresh: How Prepared Meal Companies Stack up
Yes, frozen meals may once have had the flavor and nutritional content of tin foil, and there was even a time when freezing foods meant they became mushy and unappetizing once thawed.
However, between today’s quick-freezing methods and an increased awareness of the need for healthy, nutritious, great-tasting frozen meals, things have changed.
Even so, we still often consider fresh to be the best alternative since there is the perception that freezing foods somehow makes them inferior. However, when you consider that frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested at their ripest, are not chemically treated against spoilage, the long-term storage ability, lack of food spoilage and the economy of scale this gives producers, it becomes much clearer: frozen is better.
Plus, when you order from a frozen meal service, you have the freedom to order from nearly anywhere in the country without concern for shipping times.
For instance, Veestro can ship fresh frozen, healthy, plant-based meals prepared by our gourmet chef and shipped at little of no cost to any of the 48-contiguous states.
So, for better taste, nutritional content, storage ability and savings, choose frozen meals—especially now that aluminum is no longer a featured flavor!
Read more about FROZEN VS. FRESH: KNOW YOUR VEGGIES.