Tip of the Week

Frozen vegetables can often have a higher nutritional value than fresh vegetables.  They are blast frozen within hours of harvesting whereas your fresh veg may have been transported over long distances, making them less nutrient dense.

Of course, there is nothing better than vegetables grown locally which are eaten close to the harvest date.  However, if the frozen vegetables are not labelled as “ready to eat”, they must be cooked before eating.  Therefore, frozen vegetables not labelled as ready to eat are not suitable for eating raw from frozen.

Why can I not use frozen vegetables straight from the freezer for salads, smoothies, dips, etc?

Bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes can be present in dust and soil so are most likely to be found in vegetables that grow close to the ground.  This can then contaminate machinery during the packing or processing stage, resulting in contamination of the food being packed.

Bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes, can still live at very low temperatures on frozen food.  When eaten, the bacteria can cause Listeriosis, a life-threatening illness.  Last year there was an outbreak of Listeriosis across Europe that caused acute illness in 47 people including 9 deaths.  This outbreak was attributed to eating uncooked frozen sweetcorn.

Cooking frozen vegetables kills any bacteria present.

Alert

Only eat foods raw from the freezer if they are labelled as “Ready to eat”.  Otherwise always follow manufacturers cooking instructions.

Weekly Food Fact

How did commercially frozen food start?  Clarence Birdseye was working in Canada with the Inuit as a fur trapper when he noticed the fish they caught, which immediately froze in the subzero temperature, remained fresh when defrosted to eat months later.  In 1920 Birdseye began experimenting with frozen peas and, in 1929, the fast freezing industry was born.

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