Who does not love summer? Even lovers of snow slopes, snow-capped women, ice sculptures, snowballs, sleigh rides and skiing all the same love summer and wait for it, because the summer spoils not only with warmth, swimming in the river or in the sea, not only beaches and summer sites in cafes and restaurants, but also fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, modern supermarkets offer fresh fruits and vegetables all year round, but the taste and smell of summer vegetables is always different.Of course, vegetables and fruits have always tried to save as long as possible, so there are many ways of storing them. But only with the advent of freezers the storage of summer fruits ceased to require complex processing with the use of preservatives, even if the preservatives were only salt, sugar, vegetable oil, vinegar and some spices. After all, any preservatives change both the taste and aroma of all the gifts of fields and orchards. Now vegetables can simply be frozen to use them in the cold season, when the fields are gaining strength for new harvests. Now many housewives prepare frozen vegetables. What and how to properly freeze vegetables? Many people are interested in this issue today.
Opinion of scientists about frozen fruits and vegetables
Any new technology of storing products always attracts interest from both consumers and researchers, as it is necessary to understand how the products prepared with this technology are useful, especially for children, adolescents, elderly people, expecting a child and breastfeeding women, as well as for everyone else. To what opinion did scientists come about frozen vegetables? After many serious studies of the quality of frozen vegetables, scientists came to a somewhat unexpected conclusion - frozen vegetables and fruits may even be more useful than fresh ones, since it is in frozen vegetables that more vitamins and antioxidants are contained, including anticancer products, than in fresh products. Independent research works have revealed that in most cases (in two cases out of three, which is almost 67%), the frozen gifts of the field and the garden contain more vitamin C, beta-carotene, polyphenols, lutein and anthocyanins. And the benefits of these substances are absolutely indisputable and undeniable, since there is a lot of evidence that they are very important for preventing tumor, including oncological diseases, not to mention the general state of health. Many people who try to take care of their health, tend to buy only fresh vegetables. However, some of these vegetables were first frozen and went on sale only after defrosting, which certainly does not improve their quality. In addition, purchased vegetables, even if they were not frozen earlier, are not used in most cases immediately after purchase, but lie on the shelf of the refrigerator and lose useful substances. And then, who knows how long before the sale, these vegetables were in special stores? And if these vegetables were traveling from another camp or even from another continent? Thus, it turns out that vegetables that were bought under the guise of fresh and therefore useful, almost always lost their original quality, and at the same time, most of the vitamins and other useful substances. As for frozen vegetables, they are frozen almost immediately after the harvest was harvested, so the level of all antioxidants is much longer and always remains higher. Scientists from the Food Research Association and from the University of Chester, independently of each other, conducted forty different tests to determine the content of useful ingredients, including vitamins and other antioxidants, in vegetables and fruits that were stored after defrosting for several days (for three days in refrigerating chamber). The results of the tests clearly showed that it is best to eat freshly frozen foods - they contain much more vitamins and other nutrients than in those products that are sold as fresh, after the end of the season. Dr. Rachel Birch, who participated in the research, claims that the opinion of the greater use of supposedly fresh vegetables in comparison with frozen ones is erroneous, because it is the nutritional value of frozen foods that can be compared with vegetables harvested directly from the bed. Dr. Rachel Birch and her team found that frozen carrots contain more lutein (almost three times) and beta-carotene (two times), as well as more vitamin C and polyphenol than carrots that are sold in the supermarket as fresh. Even more impressive were studies of broccoli frozen cabbage - the content of beta-carotene, vitamin C and lutein was four times higher than that of broccoli, which was sold as fresh. Scientists from the University of Chester came to the same conclusions on the example of frozen green beans and blueberries, in which the content of polyphenols and vitamin C also was significantly higher compared with the so-called fresh products. Thus, according to the results of authoritative studies, it turns out that the freezing of products for their storage has many advantages.
Advantages of frozen vegetables
The unconditional benefits of frozen vegetables include their overall safety and impeccable quality. Before freezing any fruits (vegetables, fruits, berries) are carefully inspected and checked - only very high-quality fruits that have a certain degree of maturity are frozen. It is also very important that only seasonal fruits can be used for freezing, therefore, after freezing, the maximum amount of nutrients and taste qualities remains in them. But the undesirable substances in such seasonal frosts are always the minimum, because according to agrochemical conditions, the introduction of chemicals into the soil or surface treatment with chemicals is strictly forbidden for a certain time before seasonal harvesting. The next advantage of frozen vegetables is that they are natural, because no chemical components, including food additives and food colors, any preservatives and flavor enhancers, as well as other chemicals, are used to freeze any vegetables, fruits or berries. An important advantage of frozen vegetables can be considered speed and convenience of their preparation, since frozen vegetables are already sold ready for cooking, that is, they have been thoroughly washed, cleaned if necessary, and cut into pieces of the right size. If a mixture of vegetables is sold, then this mixture has the necessary proportions. Therefore, for cooking, you only need to follow the instructions that are printed on the package, or use your own recipes. It is very important that frozen vegetables are very economical - only packing material can be considered as waste. Another advantage of frozen vegetables is their variety and a fairly wide range. It is important that frozen vegetables can be either in the form of assorted or represented by separate species. As for sales in supermarkets, frozen vegetables with mushrooms, with string beans or with asparagus are especially popular. However, it is always possible to use self-prepared mixtures for cooking, combining frozen products.
Attention! Experts do not advise buying frozen vegetable mixes in the summer, when fresh vegetables are sold in markets and supermarkets, although the quality of such frozen mixtures persists for a very long period.
Useful advice on the use of frozen vegetables
Council number 1. Do not store frozen vegetables for longer than indicated on the package. It is believed that storing frozen fruits and vegetables should not last longer than six months. It is very important not to store a long-printed package, even if it is stored in the freezer.
Council number 2. If it is necessary to choose frozen vegetables in a supermarket, preference should be given to those vegetables that were frozen by the method of deep freezing (-35 ° C), because just such a method of freezing products allows to keep the maximum amount of all useful substances. Such a frost can be called a shock.
Council number 3. Do not buy vegetables if they do not roll and rustle in the bag, but become a cohesive homogeneous mass - this means that the product was transported or stored under unsuitable temperature conditions and could be repeatedly thawed.
Tip # 4. In no case should it be defrosted vegetables in hot water, because hot water very quickly cleanses out of the vegetables all the useful micro- and macronutrients and vitamins.
Council number 5. When choosing the method of making frozen vegetables, one should take into account the state of their health - sometimes it is better not to cook frozen vegetables or vegetable mixtures, but cook or steamed. This is especially important for people who are diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal tract diseases, including gastritis of various etiologies, and if any swelling develops.
Freezing vegetables at home
The most advantageous and convenient way of home canning vegetables today is considered to be their freezing. First of all, with this type of preserving, do not use traditional home preservatives, that is, salt, sugar and vinegar, - freezing allows you to get the most healthy foods. In addition, it is the freezing that allows you to fully preserve both the smell, taste, and, most importantly, all the useful ingredients of the products
Attention! It is in frozen vegetables that all vitamins and other useful substances that were at the time of freezing are stored, therefore, for example, in frozen carrots or in frozen asparagus vitamins, by the spring, much more will be preserved than in the conventionally fresh ones purchased in the supermarket.
It is very important that for preserving by freezing food, no additional devices are needed, other than a freezer or freezer compartment in a conventional refrigerator.
Attention! At home, freezers are best for freezing vegetables for the winter, which maintain temperatures from -18 ° C to -23 ° C. It is at this temperature that vegetables freeze better and can be stored for at least eight months (up to a year), which will allow using such preparations before the next season. If the temperature of freezing and storing vegetables is not lower - 8 ° C, then such frozen vegetables can be stored no longer than three months.
Undoubtedly, in industrial conditions, vegetables freeze faster and more qualitatively, however, at home, the shock (the best quality) frost is very problematic. It is the shock freezing at a very low temperature that provides an important feature - the smallest ice crystals that do not affect the structure of vegetables and do not damage it, preserving not only vitamins and other useful substances, but also the shape of the product. Although in some modern refrigerators and freezers there is a function of quick freezing, which will get the best quality frozen product. Shelf life of frozen fruits and vegetables So, what should be remembered and what should be taken into account when freezing vegetables at home? It is very important to thoroughly wash any vegetables before freezing, and then dry them thoroughly, so that they do not even have water left on them. This rule applies not only to vegetables, but also mushrooms or berries and fruits. Perfectly absorb the excess water paper towels, which you can put vegetables for a few minutes.
Attention! The more damp the vegetables prepared for freezing, the better the final product will be.
It should also be taken into account that many vegetables should be frozen in portions for use at a time. To a large extent this applies to greenery, which otherwise can turn into a ball due to the liquid contained in it. By the way, it is better to wash greens not in flowing water, but in a large container, so that the sand, which is necessarily green, is simply drowned in water and left at the bottom of a bowl or pan.
Attention! Any greenery before freezing should not only be washed and dried, but also cut, and then poured into a portioned package.
Some vegetables must be boiled or blanched before freezing. For example, it is necessary to boil cauliflower, first dividing it into separate inflorescences. Cook cauliflower for three minutes, after which it must be cooled and dried, and only then it can be frozen. It is also necessary to boil eggplants or zucchini before freezing, after cutting them into cubes of the right size. Boiled vegetables should be cooled and dried, and only then they are laid out in bags and frozen. It is necessary before frosting to boil and asparagus beans, which then should be cooled and thoroughly dried. Do not blanch or boil cabbage broccoli, because its structure is very tender and it is easy to damage. As for the Bulgarian pepper, it should not be blanched before freezing, but thoroughly washed, dried and cut into pieces of the required size. If necessary, freeze the pepper for stuffing, then it is best to freeze it with the filling, that is, with the necessary vegetable or meat minced meat with boiled rice. Tomatoes are best frozen, pre-cut them into slices. But small tomatoes can be frozen whole. To prepare vegetable frozen mixtures at home, all vegetables must be prepared separately: all to wash, boil those vegetables that require this type of treatment. When all the vegetables that are planned as part of the mixture will be prepared, they must be thoroughly mixed in one large vessel and spread over the portion packets in which they are frozen. If necessary, freeze the mushrooms, they must first be boiled, and you need to boil with salt and, if necessary, with spices. The cooked mushrooms are dried, and then laid out in packages. But still some mushrooms do not need to boil, for example, champignons. Before freezing green peas or corn, they must first be picked, then boiled for about five minutes, rinsed with cold running water and dried. Only after this, they can be decomposed into packages and frozen. If it is necessary to freeze the carrot, then, of course, it should be thoroughly washed and dried, and then chopped as it will be used, that is, either cut into pieces of the desired shape, or grated.
Attention! Do not freeze any vegetables. Not suitable for freezing vegetables that contain large amounts of water, because when frozen they will necessarily lose their elasticity and the ability to crunch. Such vegetables include, for example, cucumbers, lettuce, radish, radish, and potatoes.
Another tip, which may well come in handy. If there is a possibility, then it is better to freeze the vegetables by spreading them or spread them in one layer on the shelf of the freezer, and only then to pack on the storage bags. And it does not cause the slightest doubt that it is better to pack vegetables, as well as all other frozen foods, in portion packs.
Attention! Defrosting vegetables can only once - with multiple defrost-freeze, they lose almost all their useful properties, as well as taste, smell and appearance.
As you know, summer always manages to fly very quickly and unnoticed. And on winter evenings it's so nice to see summer photos or videotaping, and it's even more pleasant to cook something from summer products that have preserved not only the name, but also the summer fragrance. No bank with conservation will give that result and pleasure, like frozen vegetables. By the way, and the hassle with freezing is not an example less, but the benefits of such blanks are much greater. Just like vegetables, you can freeze and berries (strawberries, blueberries, currants ...), as well as apricots or peaches. So it's worth keeping in step with the times and using new ideas not only for selfie or fashion clothing, but also for workpieces for the winter. Checked - any blanks will always come in handy! The question is only in the volume of the freezer and in the desire to save the summer with its unique flavors and aromas for the whole long and cold winter.