Frozen food can often get a bad rap. For many families, a busy schedule means the convenience of frozen food can be a life-saver. However, there are some common misconceptions about frozen food that make us feel guilty somehow for not having the time to buy, prepare and cook fresh food every evening. Here we examine some of those frozen food myths and debunk them for you:
Myth 1: It’s Less Nutritious
Not so. Frozen food can sometimes lose a little of its original nutritional value the
longer it’s stored, however it’s often more nutritious than the fresh food section in
your local store. Fresh fruit and veg, particularly those that are out of season, are
picked before they fully ripen and shipped long distances. During this time, it loses a
lot of its nutritional value. Frozen food is picked just at its ripest and flash frozen to
seal in that goodness and those lovely nutrients.
Your chosen cooking method also has a big impact on whether you retain or lose
nutrition. Steaming, for example, retains nutrients better than boiling.
Myth 2: It’s More Expensive
If you’re a savvy shopper, frozen food doesn’t have to be pricey. Convenience meals
will be more expensive than buying potatoes and fresh veg, but still cheaper than
fast food or eating out for a busy family. Off-season fruit and veg will go up in price
and stocking up your freezer with frozen versions instead will save you money on
your shopping bill. Households might consider two freezers for stocking up on
essentials, while commercial caterers would benefit from large Commercial Cold Rooms.
Myth 3: You Can Freeze Anything
Most foods can be frozen and still retain their original flavour and texture. Some,
however, don’t respond well to the freezing process and will soon lose their flavour.
Sauces that are cream-based will separate when frozen and fruit and veg with a
high-water content don’t fare well, such as lettuce. You should never freeze eggs or
canned produce, without removing the egg from the shell and the contents from the
can and resealing in freezer-safe containers.
Myth 4: Frozen Food Keeps Forever
While frozen foods can be kept far longer than fresh, too long in the freezer will see
them lose their taste and quality. Here is a quick guide to how long some main food
groups can be frozen:
Raw meat for between 4-12 months and cooked meat for between 2-4 months.
Casseroles, Soups and Stews for between 2-3 months.
Fruit & Veg for between 8-12 months
Be sure to let cooked foods cool completely before freezing and always package
them in moisture-proof containers. When using freezer bags, ensure all air is
removed from the bag before sealing.
Myth 5: Freezing Food Destroys Bacteria
Freezing food makes bacteria inactive but will never eliminate it completely. If the
food is contaminated before it is frozen, some of that bacteria will remain when
defrosted. That is why it is so important to cook frozen food thoroughly and at the
recommended temperature and check it is piping hot all the way through before
eating. When preparing fresh food to be frozen, always follow good kitchen hygiene