Do Vegetables Lose their Properties when they're Frozen?

Despite what many believe, vegetables don't lose their nutritional value when they're frozen. However, they could actually start to lose this if you store them in the fridge.
Do Vegetables Lose their Properties when they're Frozen?

Last update: 12 March, 2021

When you’re talking about any healthy diet, eating plenty of fresh food is obviously a priority. However, did you know you can also consume certain foods that have been subject to industrial processing? Below, we’ll show you whether frozen vegetables lose their properties or not. We’ll also take a look at if you can safely include these foods in your diet.

Before we get started, here’s the first thing you should know. Regularly eating fruit and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of all-cause mortality. This is because of the micronutrients and phytonutrients they contain, which are vital for good health. They help to reduce oxidation and control inflammation in the body.

Frozen vegetables don’t lose their properties

It’s important to distinguish between two types of industrial processes to do with food. One increases the useful life of the product, and the other kind is designed around making it tastier. The first type of process doesn’t negatively impact the nutritional value, or at least not generally speaking. Here we can include freezing, pickling, and some heating processes.

With this kind of process, it’s possible to freeze vegetables without them losing their properties. Only small water crystals will form on the vegetable pieces, which will allow them to stay fresh for longer.

While it’s true that the flavor may be altered slightly, their nutritional value will remain intact. In fact, different processes such as boiling vegetables in water or exposure to high temperatures can actually affect their properties.

According to a study published in the magazine Journal of Functional Foods, the content of many carotenoids and flavenoids doesn’t diminish with freezing or freeze-drying. That means you can be sure the veggies will still do their job despite being preserved at low temperatures.

A bag of frozen pumpkin cubes.

Refrigerated vegetables can actually lose their properties

Let’s now take a look at the opposite of what can happen to frozen veggies, when you keep them in the fridge. Did you know that vegetables kept in the fridge can actually lose their properties over several days? Contact with both air and with the microorganisms that can live in vegetables can start to break down certain vitamins and minerals, which affects their nutritional value.

The same thing can happen if you leave vegetables at room temperature. That’s why freezing vegetables can be an excellent option to keep them fresh. It’s actually better to keep them in the freezer, especially if you’re not going to use them soon. Freezing may affect the flavor and texture slightly, but not their nutritional value.

It’s essential to eat vegetables, even if they’re frozen

Frozen vegetables have at least two main advantages over their fresh counterparts. The first is that they stay usable and fresh over a longer period of time. In the second place, they tend to be cheaper, which means that they’re more accessible to the majority of people.

Of course, it’s beyond a doubt that regularly eating vegetables is very beneficial. In fact, the phytonutrients that they contain help to prevent the development of many complex diseases, such as cancer. This is what an investigation points out, which was published in the magazine International Journal of Epidemiology.

However, here’s an important tip. You should vary between raw and cooked veggies. While frozen vegetables don’t lose their properties, they can lose certain vitamins and minerals when you heat them, such as during boiling.

Frozen vegetables don't lose their properties.

Include frozen vegetables in your diet

As we’ve seen, it’s possible to eat frozen vegetables and benefit from all of their nutritional properties. They also have the advantage of being more affordable than fresh veggies. You can even buy frozen veggies that aren’t currently in season, which increases the range you can include in your diet.

There are many benefits to regularly eating vegetables. Remember that it’s ideal to have as wide a variety of different veggies in your diet as you can. That way you’re sure to be getting enough micro and phytonutrients that your body needs to carry out its essential functions.

On the other hand, don’t forget it’s also a good idea to alternate between fresh and cooked veggies. That way you’ll be avoiding losing large quantities of nutrients to the heating and cooking processes, which could make your diet less healthy.

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  • Perez Moral N., Saha S., Philo M., Hart DJ., et al., Comparative bio accesibility, bioavailability and bioequivalence of quercetin, apigenin, glucoraphanin and carotenoids from freeze-dried vegetables incorporated into a baked snack versus minimaly processed vegetables: evidence from in vitro models and a human bioavailability study. J Funct Food, 2018. 48: 410-419.
  • Aune D., Giovannucci E., Boffetta P., Fadness LT., et al., Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all cause mortality a systematic review and dose response meta analysis of prospective studies. Int J Epidemiol, 2017. 46 (3): 1029-1056.