One of the most common areas in the food mart where there is a constant flow of shoppers and at times, we do have to shove to get a leg space in between is near the frozen section. And if they are special offers then, its’ a constant rush of buyers checking the expiration dates with the discount offers.
Frozen foods have been in the system for quite some time. From the very early days of using simple techniques like crushed snow and ice for storage and the development of refrigerants, mechanical freezers to modern cryogenic or flash freezing techniques. Weighing the advantages and the demerits, certain foods are best frozen and especially to get the exotic vegetables, fruits, meat and desserts; freezing them is the option. Health wise, frozen foods aren’t dangerous once when we debunk the myths and get the facts and science straightened out.
” I’m obsessed with frozen yogurt because you don’t feel totally guilty eating it. It’s not as bad as ice cream, and during the hot summer months, it’s a great way to just refresh.” Caroline Sunshine
On buying frozen foods, fruits or vegetables; check the expiration dates. Technically these dates are given so as to recycle their use as well as to maintain their quality. Safety wise, unless the thawing process is wrong; generally frozen foods don’t get contaminated as long as the temperature requirements and settings are maintained.
Nutritionally speaking, fresh local produce is always better. Yet for recipes calling for the exotic ingredients, desserts or meat imported; frozen foods don’t lack the nutritional quality as long as the cold chain is maintained.
Thawed food once handled can be safe to refreeze as long as its’ been thawed in the fridge and not on the counter. Thawing frozen foods should never be done on the counter as it becomes a microbial plate then. Instead thaw it in the fridge compartment (from the freezer) or put it in cold water and change the water every half hour (USDA Recommendation). The shortcut technique of running hot water over frozen food could cause uneven cooking of the ingredients, in addition to safety issues.
After buying frozen foods, putting them directly in the freezer isn’t advisable as the air holes in the containers can deteriorate their taste and quality. Instead re-wrap the meat or fruits and vegetables (best to blanch the vegetables first) into air tight units pushing the maximum air out first. Quality wise, frozen foods have to be checked for added sodium; while frozen foods have to be nutritionally balanced with add on’s or side dishes for a balanced diet.
Frozen foods, on the whole isn’t a bad option to indulge in when required, as long as one maintains the temperature or cold chain and hygiene while handling them. For strawberries in winter, would give a pleasant surprise for the meal; besides enhancing the taste buds and flavouring the meal.