No matter how passionate one is when it comes to cooking healthy home meals, there always comes a time (mainly due to work or other social engagements) that finding time to cook becomes impossible. It is in these situations that frozen food comes in handy for a quick meal prep. A common misconception that needs to be dispelled is that frozen food is processed food. Frozen meals and snacks are processed food. And although processed food can be filled with added salt and sugar, as well as preservatives and chemical additives to enhance flavour, help bind the food and preserve it longer, even processed frozen foods with low amounts of unwanted additives will be healthy. But be mindful that frozen food is always not packaged food/snacks. A huge part of frozen food includes fresh meat, frozen vegetables, and fruits as well. Frozen food undergoes a natural fast freezing method that seals in all the nutrition and flavour that it possessed before being fast frozen.
It should also be noted that fast freezing is different with the freezing that occurs in your own home freezer, which is designed to keep frozen food cold, or slowly freeze food items of your choice. The process of fast freezing uses extremely cold air circulating around the food. The food is virtually ‘instant frozen’. But when you freeze food in your home freezer, it takes a lot more time and ice crystals form within the cells of the food that damage the tissue. Once thawed, those frozen crystals melt and bleed throughout the food, making it mushier and often freezer burned into a much less tasty and nutritious condition than when it was fresh. With fast freezing, those damaging ice crystals don’t have time to form.
- thank the Inuit...
We have the Inuit of Newfoundland to thank for the frozen food industry. Clarence Birdseye was the father of frozen food - yes, the Birds Eye brand carries his name. In 1907 the US Department of Agriculture hired Clarence as an assistant naturalist. It didn’t take long for Clarence to distinguish himself in the field. While working with Willard King in Montana, they captured hundreds of small mammals and removed thousands of ticks for research. This led to identifying ticks as the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever - a breakthrough. But it was his field work in Newfoundland between 1912-1915 that led him to frozen food. The Inuit taught him how to fast freeze fish under thick ice. His interest was sparked. With further experimentation he discovered that in -40˚ temperatures, the fish froze almost instantly, and when thawed for consumption, they tasted fresh! Birdseye instantly recognized the profitable possibilities.
• fast freezing is an efficient natural preservative
Frozen food rarely has any preservatives, they are unnecessary. The fast-freezing process itself is a 100% natural preservative.
- fresh is best... or is it?
We’re all familiar with the “fresh is best” motto. everyone knows that fresh is the tastiest and most nutritious. However, many vegetables travel large distances and are cold stored to maintain their viability. The subsequent vitamin/nutrient loss over time is a proven reality.
When you buy fresh-frozen, the veggies are sorted and frozen within hours of being picked, sealing in all the goodness and taste for when you eat them at home.
• frozen meals CAN be healthy
It comes down to you the shopper being vigilant and spending the extra time to really examine what you will be eating – read the ingredients. Many prepared frozen meals/treats can be high in saturated fats, added sugar and salt, as well as some chemicals and preservatives. The less ingredients beyond whatever basic food items are in the meal, will be your healthiest option. Also be aware that many frozen meals are for more than one serving, so you have to multiply the amounts of unwanted added ingredients by the number the meal serves.
• waste not, want not
Studies show that the average household throws out 21% of all the food they buy. Frozen food eliminates all those dried out, stale, smelly, suspect veggies and other food items that get tossed. Just thaw and use when wanted. It will always still be fresh. By keeping a variety of frozen meats and healthy frozen meals and snacks, you save the cost of restaurant delivery. By the time your delivery arrives, you can be eating your frozen meal.
• convenient & economical
Skip the out of season veggies. Skip the restaurant meals. By choosing your frozen foods/meals wisely, you can save a bundle AND eat healthy!
• frozen food is safe food
You should thaw your frozen foods in the fridge instead of on the counter. This will enable the diminishing of microbial and enzymatic activity, thus ensuring its healthy nature - and maxing out its freshness and taste.
• A1’s staggering selection of all things frozen
Frozen foods have come a long way since the frozen foods of your parents’ generation. Take a trip down A1 Cash and Carry’s extensive freezer aisles and you’ll discover an enormous range of delicious options filled with flavour, freshness and nutrition. Meat, veggies, fruit and a mind-boggling variety of prepared meals and treats