Is there really a difference between canned and frozen vegetables versus fresh ones? And what’s exactly the difference between canned and frozen anyway? While it’s no secret that fresh is best when it comes to nutrients, taste, and texture, how much better is it really? Let’s take a look at each of them.
Canned vs Frozen Vegetables
Before we get started, let’s take a look at fresh vegetables. While fresh vegetables typically have the least amount of nutrient loss, they can still experience some loss during the transportation process. Unless you have an abundant supply of vegetables ready to be picked in a garden of your own, produce will typically take some time to make it to your local grocery store. The more time that goes by, the more loss in nutrients.
Examine.com goes on to say that “the nutritional content of either kind of produce will depend on a host of other factors, including soil, season, weather, farming method, and storage conditions and duration.” It’s also important to note what is lost. Ovia Health explains, “one of the biggest differences, though, lies in where that nutrient loss takes place.” Vitamins B and C are some of the first to go when fruits and vegetables are being canned or frozen. With this in mind, you may want to go the fresh route. This means peppers, broccoli, spinach, sprouts, and citrus fruits will have more vitamins when they are fresh. Try to avoid purchasing them frozen or canned.
So what about frozen vegetables? Generally speaking, freezing vegetables is a wonderful way to preserve nutrients, taste, and texture. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the blanching process. In order to kill bacteria, hot water is used for a few minutes before freezing. Again, vitamins B and C will be most affected by this. Additionally, salt and sugar may be added. If these are ingredients you typically like to avoid, you may want to check the label. Overall, frozen vegetables go through minimal processing and can be a great route to go if what you’re looking for isn’t available fresh. In conclusion, frozen produce is typically minimally processed.
When it comes to a loss in water-soluble vitamins, canned fruits and veggies suffer even more. BPA, which stands for bisphenol A, has also been considered an issue. Although the research isn’t solid on how much BPA is absorbed, expecting mothers and babies are advised not to overdo it. There are also cans that do not contain BPA or have much less than the average. You may also want to opt for low sodium cans. In order to keep the fruit or veggie preserved, salt and sugar syrup may be prevalent. Therefore, be on the lookout for cans where the perishables are only swimming in their own water or juices. On the plus side, however, since they aren’t exposed to oxygen, they remain stable in the can. Corn and carrots, in particular, tend to do relatively well once canned. Overall, canned produce is typically going to be the most processed.
The surprising fact here is that it isn’t one size fits all. What works best for one fruit or vegetable may not work best for another. If you want to get the most out of your produce when it comes to taste or nutrition, consider which vitamins are present in what you’re buying. Additionally, how you choose to cook your vegetables can play a large role. An obvious truth is that raw veggies tend to have the most nutrients. However, they aren’t easily digestible at times. Steaming, roasting, or broiling are some of the best methods for cooking vegetables. Especially when compared to deep frying.
So there you have it. When it comes to buying produce, it’s not necessarily as black and white as some may think. A general conclusion that many come to is that fresh and frozen are best and steaming is superior. What’s truly most important, though, is that we’re getting enough in general. A great and simple piece of advice when it comes to veggies is– you don’t need to like ‘em, you just need to eat ‘em. Additional Source: The healthiest ways to cook veggies and boost nutrition
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