There is no question that consuming more fruits and vegetables in our diets results in a variety of positive health benefits. It is recommended that we consume between 8 and 10 servings a day, but in reality most adults consume between 2 and 4 servings. Freezing fruits and vegetables for resale started to occur on a large scale basis in the mid to late 1920’s, and articles written on the health aspect of these products started to appear in the early 1930’s. When many people think of “fresh” fruits and vegetables they think of what they see and buy in grocery stores. In reality, the produce sold in grocery stores may not be that fresh. Consider that produce must be picked (often before it is ripe), then sometimes stored for a day or two, transported (sometimes for thousands of miles) to a grocery store where it again might sit in storage for a day or longer.
Sometimes chemicals are added to produce to finish the ripening process, and then it is placed on the shelf for purchase, where again it might sit for a day or longer. This entire process can easily take 1 to 2 weeks and can lead to significant nutrient loss. In contrast, frozen fruits and vegetable are often picked at their peak of ripeness (the time when they are most nutrient packed) and frozen within hours, theoretically locking in many of those nutrients. One study which examined antioxidants in fresh and frozen vegetables was published in the Journal of Food Science (2008). The authors concluded “the assumption that frozen vegetables have a lower antioxidant potential than fresh ones is not a universal truth, but depends on the vegetable considered” and “frozen cooked vegetables often present a higher antioxidant activity than the corresponding fresh ones”.
Danesi F & Bordoni A: Effect of home freezing and Italian style of cooking on antioxidant activity of edible vegetables. Journal of Food Science (2008), Vol 73, pps. H109-H112.