Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

With Many Thanks to Clarence

I thought it would be just loads of fun to focus our attention today on frequently asked questions about frozen foods. But first, a little history.

Although the practice of preserving food by freezing can be traced back to 1626, it wasn’t exactly practical. Frozen foods looked bad, tasted worse and were more apt than not to make people deathly ill. Thank goodness for Clarence Birdseye, who in 1926 invented and developed a freezing process that not only preserved food safely but also preserved its taste and appearance.

Are fresh vegetables more nutritious than frozen?

The International Food Information Council tells us that the nutritional value of frozen vegetables is virtually identical to fresh produce. In fact, frozen has better nutritional value than fresh, if that “fresh” produce has been sitting in the refrigerator for a long time.

Do fresh fruits and vegetables taste better than frozen?

Frozen foods can pass any taste test. A properly made entree stored at 0 F tastes exactly like one freshly cooked. The recipe used to make these items are developed by some of the best chefs in the world. After they prepare them, they freeze them so that they maintain their freshness and flavor.

Do frozen vegetables contain additives or preservatives?

The folks at Birds Eye, Clarence’s frozen food company, do not use any artificial preservatives. Instead, they flash freeze produce. This process locks in flavor, preserves texture and nutrition and ensures a long freezer shelf life.

Once thawed, can food be refrozen?

It is not recommended because refreezing a product makes it more susceptible to freezer burn.

Is freezer burn harmful?

Freezer burn (the white dried-out patches found on improperly stored frozen foods) won’t make you sick but it will change the quality, color, texture and taste of the food.

What is the best way to store frozen food products?

Always keep food frozen in its original packaging until you are ready to use it. Thaw according to the package instructions, and in the absence of directions, thaw in the refrigerator. Organize your freezer with the oldest foods to the front so they will be used first. Always label frozen foods with what it is and the date it was frozen.

Is it OK to eat the vegetables straight from the package?

It’s not dangerous, but for the best flavor and texture, Birds Eye Foods recommends cooking frozen foods as stated on the packaging.

Are frozen vegetables and fruits more expensive than fresh?

Frozen foods are economical because you do not pay for stalks, pits, skins, rinds or damaged food. Edible ounce for edible ounce, frozen food costs are usually less than their fresh counterparts. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, five of the six vegetables tested were cheapest when purchased frozen. Through price fluctuations, fresh produce can cost 99 cents at the beginning of the season, 39 cents at midseason and then, with no explanation, jump up again. With frozen foods, there are no such widely varying prices.

What is the proper temperature for a food freezer?

Maintain a proper freezer temperature of no higher than 0 F. To be sure that your freezer is maintaining this safe temperature, get a freezer thermometer (less than $10).

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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