Frozen vs fresh fruit

As a lay person, it seems so difficult to know what is right and what is wrong. For convenience, I buy frozen strawberries for my smoothie. Today, I stumbled across an article that said frozen fruit lacks most of the nutrition found in fresh fruit and that threw me back, so I thought I would Google the subject.

Of course, people debate both sides of this subject. Is there any way to get to the bottom of this to know if frozen is as good as fresh, or at least relatively close. Below are some snippets from Google that I found:

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Fresh fruits and vegetables are better for you than canned or frozen because the processing removes all the nutrients.

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The nutrient content of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables is comparable to fresh and, in some cases, it may be higher than fresh

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Comments

  • Have a look at some of our data from the NCCDB. You can directly compare some data for fresh and frozen strawberries for instance by looking at:
    "Strawberries, Fresh" Food #451427, Data Source: NCCDB:5363
    "Strawberries, Frozen, Unsweetened" Food #451364, Data Source: NCCDB:5371

    Hilary
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  • I eat both fresh and frozen fruits, and believe the nutrients are comparable. Fresh fruits I buy because they're local and in season. Frozen fruits would be harvested and frozen at their best so could be better than end-of-season local fruits in theory. I don't like canned because they're often covered in syrup -- it ought too be a sin to add sugar to fruits!

    I think as long as you're eating no-sugar-added fruits, you should be just fine!

    #AllTheDots

  • @TimC00k

    What a great question!

    This is something I actually researched a few months ago for a newspaper article. Here's a quick synoposis of what I told the reporter based on the research I read:

    • Eating fresh produce that you grow yourself (or that was recently harvested and purchased at a Farmer's market) will likely retain the highest number of nutrients given that it was picked when it was ripe and it hasn't been sitting out for too long

    • Fresh produce starts to lose small amounts of nutrients (specifically those that are sensitive to light or heat) the longer they sit out on your cubboard. The loss of nutrients can be slowed down by storing fruits and vegetables in the fridge or freezer

    • Frozen fruits and vegetables retain a high number of nutrients if they aren't cooked prior to being frozen and can be an economical and healthful choice

    I think the key message is to just ensure you are eating fruits and vegetables in whatever form (fresh or frozen) is most economical and convenient for you.

    Kind regards.

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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  • Picked at the peak of freshness is the advertising slogan and would probably make sense if I thought about it very long but for the most part, I prefer fresh. Birdseye could advance their cause by providing real information about a nutritional degradation curve if there is such a thing.

    But sometimes frozen is all you can get. I love those little wild blueberries. We get local big fresh blueberries in my neck of the mid-southern US, but those little wild ones have 10 times the flavor and I can only find them frozen, if at all.

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • I hear you @OldHobo !

    I grew up in Manitoba where Saskatoon berries thrived! We used to pick them off the bushes and eat them raw by the handful. It's been challenging to find them anywhere in Ontario - fresh or frozen!

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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  • I was just thinking about this a bit more, but for smoothies, I buy frozen berries for the convenience and the amount I go through.

    Would anyone know, are you supposed to wash frozen fruit before consuming it to get pesticides off or is the assumption that they are washed prior to freezing. FYI, we haven't been buying organic because of the cost.

    Thank you

  • @TimC00k

    You shouldn't need to wash frozen berries as they are cleaned with water to remove dirt and debris prior to packaging. :smile:

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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  • Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your response. I don't doubt you on this but are you 100% sure on this.

    I've been trying to eat healthy and in one of the forums that I was reading, they suggested buying frozen fruit and vegetables only if the packaging said "ready to use" or words to that effect. At my local store, I don't see any frozen fruits/vegetables with that, but there are organic items but they are quite a bit more expense.

    It just would be such a shame to try and eat healthy only to find out that I am ingesting large amounts of pesticides.

    Thank you

  • @TimC00k

    Hello,

    I can say with certainty that frozen products are cleaned of dirt and debris, but to what (if any) extent this would remove pesticides, I am unsure.

    When we look at 99% of studies on fruit and vegetable intake in relation to health, conventional (i.e. non-organic) produce is being used. The health benefits associated with the consumption of fruits and vegetables exist whether or not the produce is organic. My message to people is that if you feel better and healthier eating organic, then do so. But if the cost of eating organic impedes the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, then choose conventional. :) Personally, it sounds like you are doing a great job of monitoring your diet and eating healthy foods.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
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