One common misconception about frozen fruits is that they are less nutritious than their freshly-picked counterparts. Of course, fruits that are picked and eaten straight from the garden will be delicious and full of nutrients. However, this may be different for the fresh fruits that we buy from grocery stores or even in the palengkes.
Before going through the reasons why, I would like to quickly reminisce about how I first came to know about frozen fruits. It was during my time as a student in London in which part of my daily diet was frozen fruits. I remember every Saturday morning going to the Waitrose Supermarket just below my apartment and buying 500g of frozen mixed berries. This would be my stock for the rest of the week. I will use it to make smoothies, add it as a topping on my breakfast cereal, or sometimes even make some muffins with them. It was convenient, easy to use, and versatile! I wanted to continue doing this when I got back to the Philippines but I couldn’t find any frozen fruits in any supermarket. I saw an opportunity so I decided to establish a company dedicated to importing and distributing frozen berries. This was way back in 2015. Fast forward to 2023- frozen berries can now be found in major supermarkets in the Philippines.
Being in the business for several years already, I still continue to believe that frozen fruits may be (a little bit) better than fresh. Here’s why:
They are more RIPE! - Frozen fruits that are meant to be frozen are picked at their ripest stage. This means that the fruit has reached its full nutritional potential and is at its sweetest point. These frozen fruits are immediately frozen upon harvest using the latest IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) technology to lock in their nutrients and flavor. Fresh fruits, on the other hand, are harvested prematurely to account for the transport time from the farm to the shelves.
They are versatile and convenient. - Frozen fruits are already pre-washed and prepared (ie. sliced, diced, whole, etc,). It may be used in any food application possible. They can be eaten on their own, used in smoothies, applied in pastry, and even in culinary dishes. They also have a long shelf life of 2 years after freezing so storage will not be a problem.
They keep their nutritional value and flavor profile longer. - Since fresh fruits are harvested prematurely, their peak nutritional value potential is not reached. In fact, it will start to degrade once the fruit is separated from the plant. Frozen fruits, on the other hand, will keep their nutritional values even after 2 years.
I am not saying that frozen fruits will replace the value provided by fresh fruits. Fresh produce is always good. What I am proposing is that we should start including frozen fruits in our diet. They are as nutritious as (or maybe even a little bit better than) fresh fruits, they are more convenient to use and have a longer shelf life.
For more information on IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) Technology, defrosting best practices, and recipes please visit Harvestime Philippines on Facebook and Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article written by: Bryan D. Baladad, Managing Director, HTHD Food