BenefitsFrozen vegetables can be a great backup when you run out of fresh vegetables. In a pinch, they provide a quick, nutritious and satisfying side dish to your meal. Here is one place where the convenience factor can increase your consumption of veggies.
History of Frozen FoodsFreezing as a commercial method to preserve foods developed in several stages over the last 100 years with the development of refrigeration. Freezing food greatly extends its shelf-life, although not indefinitely. Some organisms continue to spoil the food even while frozen, albeit at a much slower rate. Other micro-organisms can survive the cold temperatures of freezing, even if they are de-activated. These organisms will re-activate when thawed.
What are the best frozen foods?My personal favorites are organic frozen corn, cauliflower, and string beans. These foods have great texture even after freezing, and are relatively inexpensive to buy organically.
How to Buy Frozen FoodsAlways screen the ingredients list for preservatives, sugar, and other unwanted ingredients. Check to see whether the food is pre-cooked or raw. Do not re-freeze food once thawed.
Nutritional Value of Frozen FoodsThe freezing process itself does little to change the vitamin content. However, there is a significant loss of vitamins in the pre-processing of frozen foods. Frozen food is usually blanched, i.e. lightly boiled, before freezing, to destroy any harmful bacteria. The blanching process destroys most of the vitamin C and B contained in the food.
In some cases, frozen foods may offer superior nutritional value, since they tend to be picked at the peak of ripeness, and frozen within hours. The nutritional density of most foods is highest at the peak of ripeness. On the other hand, the nutritional content of conventional, unfrozen foods tends to degrade the longer they sit on the shelf. That means you can freeze fresh picked veggies and fruits guilt free from your garden or local farm stand. My favorite frozen food is hand-picked juicy and ripe blackberries for 'oatmeal pancakes' all fall long.
Freezing LeftoversFreezing food, especially leftovers, causes significant loss of taste and texture. In short, the food turns to mush. The taste is bland. Soups stocks, especially ones that have been pureed, can significant reduce cooking time of future meals, without destroying the entire meal. Freeze this stock in individual containers. Pop them out of the fridge and into a pot. Once melted, add your favorite fresh veggies for a delicious result.
Pre-Cooked Frozen MealsFrozen foods, and restaurant foods are commercially prepared. These foods are designed for mass appeal and profit. From trans-fats, to the amount of sugar and sodium, you cannot control the ingredients used in commercially-cooked meals. That's why Ayurveda always recommends cooking for yourself at home. Restrict the use of frozen food meals or restaurants for the busy days in your schedule only, up to 2-3 meals per week.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.