Fresh vs Frozen Vegetables: Which Is the Healthier Option?

Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner
Detox Specialist

It’s the weekend and you’re about to do some groceries to replenish your stock of vegetables for the week ahead – where do you go? Do you hit the local market for fresh produce or just hit the supermarket for some frozen vegetables?

Vegetables are full of nutrients that may help improve your health, thus including them in your daily diet is a wise choice. With the prevalence of fresh options today, some are curious to know if frozen veggies carry the same benefits.

Fresh Vegetables

Knowing where your food comes from is very important especially when it comes to vegetables. Fresh and frozen vegetables all come from farmers. What sets these two apart is how they are processed.

There are farmers that grow produce for both the processed and the fresh markets. But depending on the soil and climate, not all regions can grow the same foods! For example, the UK is only about 60% self-sufficient in food, meaning that it relies on imports to feed people.

Additionally, locally-grown vegetables may also be heavily impacted by political influences and climate change.

Classifying Vegetables As ‘Fresh’

One must keep in mind that most vegetables, whether fresh or frozen, are harvested by hand. There is a growing number of vegetables that are harvested through the use of certain types of machinery.

So what’s considered fresh? It all comes down to the process after the harvest that will categorize whether a vegetable is fresh or meant for the freezer.

Most fresh vegetables are picked before they are ripe to allow them to fully ripen whilst in-transit. During transportation, fresh vegetables are stored in a chilled and controlled atmosphere to prevent them from spoiling.

The transportation can take a few days, depending on where the vegetables are packaged and sold, and sometimes even 12 months! For example, the typical storage time of apples and potatoes is up to 12 months.

Frozen Vegetables

For frozen vegetables, the harvesting processes are specifically adapted for freezing. In some cases, vegetables may be harvested at a different time than if they were to be sold fresh.

The Freezing Process

The process of freezing vegetables varies depending on what is to be frozen. One of the most common vegetables that are frozen are peas. The majority of vegetables follow the freezing process of peas.

Food processors provide farmers with their specifications for freezing, and the two parties must agree on the harvesting schedule. The producer may also measure the tenderness of the vegetables and evaluate how much volume the freezing plant can accommodate.

Blanching

The vegetables may be either picked by hand or via a machine. They go through the blanching process where they are exposed to hot steam for a brief moment and then quickly placed in ice-cold water to prevent cooking. Blanching is meant to kill any microorganisms present on the surface, reducing your risk of food poisoning. Another benefit of blanching is stopping enzyme actions that often cause loss of colour, texture, and flavour.

The vegetables will then be passed to the sorting stage, removing items that are unsuitable.

Inspection

The last part of the process is the inspection where workers look over the vegetables that are on the belt. They may pick discoloured ones.

Following the inspection, they go the packaging and freezing stage, where the vegetable packages are individually frozen and then boxed. However, this may depend on the processing plant. The frozen vegetables may also go through the test kitchen before they are passed on for distribution.

What Happens When Vegetables Are Frozen?

Vegetables may lose some of their flavour when frozen, so their consumption also depends on personal taste.

There are concerns about nutrient loss as well, when it comes to frozen vegetables. This may be related to the blanching process in which hot steam is applied and water-soluble vitamins like C and folate are susceptible to heat, causing some reduction during this process but rarely a complete loss

Nutrients in Fresh and Frozen Vegetables

One of the main dilemmas when it comes to fresh vs frozen vegetables is their nutrients. However, fresh produce is not exempt from nutrient losses.

It is only natural that certain vitamins and antioxidants are reduced following the harvesting process, thus it is recommended that vegetables are either consumed or frozen as soon as possible.

This is because, after harvesting, vegetables start to lose their moisture, increasing their chances of spoiling and a drop in their nutrient value. In the case of frozen vegetables, they are often frozen within 2 hours after harvesting, thus retaining more of their nutritional content.

Your Key Takeaways

Because they are often in the same isle as frozen pizza or frozen burgers, there is a common misconception that frozen vegetables are “junk food”. However, this is far from the truth. Fresh produce is also vulnerable to nutrient losses, often influenced by the amount of time elapsed between harvesting and consumption. At the end of the day, the healthiest vegetables are the ones that you’ll eat, whether fresh or frozen!

Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner
Detox Specialist

What If You Don’t Go To University

It’s August, which means it’s that time of the year again: A Level Results Day.

And whether it’s your friends or your grandma, there’s one question on everyone’s lips…

Are you going to university?

You might be heading back from college to the tune of ‘Did you get the grades?’

Or maybe you never wanted to go to uni in the first place.

Whichever boat you’re in; what happens when your friends are prepping for freshers’ week, but you’re not?

No fear – we’re here to help! The first thing you need to consider is:

Are you sure about your decision?

It’s difficult to aim for your goals if you don’t know what they are, or how to reach them. This means that if you have a particular career in mind, you might want to see a careers advisor or thoroughly research alternative routes into the field you’re passionate about before making a final decision.

But then what? Well, first, it’s important to know…

There are a ton of careers that don’t require a university degree

It’s true! You may have considered some of these options: hairdressing, beauty, personal training.

But those aren’t the only choices – many careers have a variety of pathways into them, from accountancy, to journalism, to nutritional therapy.

Read on to see what you can do instead of going to university:

Take a Gap Year

Fondly known as the ‘gap yah’ among millennials, many teens take a year out to decide what they want to do before continuing their education. This often takes the form of travelling, learning a language, and gaining lots of experience of different cultures – but it can also involve volunteering in a mix of industries to help you make a more informed decision about your future. While this kind of break provides a temporary solution, it’s common for people to head back to school once they complete their gap year, but many teens also open doors to careers they never knew existed!

(Pssst… Looking for the latest work experience opportunities? GoThinkBig is a good place to start).

Find an Apprenticeship

Becoming an apprentice is a great way to get straight into work AND gain a qualification while you earn. From farming, to hospitality, to law, you can choose your apprenticeship from a huge selection of fields and levels, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Level 6/7 (degree equivalent). Depending on the level, an apprenticeship can take between 1 and 5 years to complete, but you’ll be learning loads of job-specific skills along the way.

If you’re in the UK, you can click here to find an apprenticeship.

Get an Entry-Level Job

While a large number of entry-level jobs will attract applications from students and recent graduates, many employers offer roles aimed at school-leavers – including training schemes. The obvious benefit of heading straight into work is that you’ll be earning right away.

A great way to find entry-level jobs is to keep an eye on websites that advertise vacancies in specific fields. Mediargh is a great example for media-related careers (publishing, science – whatever).

Become an Entrepreneur

Ever wanted to start your own business? Now might be your chance! This can be an exciting option for those not looking to go to university, but it’s wise to first consider the funding, support, and advice you’ll need along the way. If you’re in the UK, check out these government guidelines for new businesses.

For an extra boost when it comes to marketing your business effectively, check out Google’s Digital Garage for free digital marketing training.

Study for an Online Diploma

A huge barrier for many prospective students is the possibility of getting in over £50,000 of debt for a qualification in an area they’re not entirely sure about, or wasn’t necessary for their preferred career.

Whether you’re looking to boost your entrepreneurial endeavours, or you want to get a feel for a subject before jumping into a degree, an online diploma can be a great way to go! Loads of platforms offer you the chance to study via the web and many don’t require specialist technology, so you can get going with just a laptop and a cup of tea.

If it’s nutrition you’re into, we at The Health Sciences Academy® have a whole host of certifications and short courses for you to explore.

Nutrition not your thing? Not to worry – there are loads of other great providers out there. Check out Coursera and Lynda for an array of online courses on a variety of subjects.

They’re called options for a reason…

It’s important to remember that choosing to not go to university isn’t something that sets your career in a permanent direction. You may try one of the above and decide you want to go to uni after all! Perhaps you want some work experience, maybe you’re looking to boost your know-how before embarking on a degree, or you might even decide to do both an online course and an apprenticeship – the point is: the sky’s the limit.

What you’re doing this September doesn’t necessarily define the rest of your life, but it CAN boost it. Do what’s best for you and remember: it’s quite natural to need a little bit of extra time to work out where you want your career to go.

The Health Sciences Academy® is the UK’s largest online educator in nutrition science.

We are home to a variety of Level 5 online diplomas, in addition to a range of accredited short courses in nutrition topics – ready to help you ignite your career.

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