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Frozen Berries - Where did the nutrients go?

3824 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  ashleyhaugh
DS looooves berries, and over the winter I end up buying frozen berries for him as a treat, since fresh are out of our budget. I've noticed, though, that there is basically no nutritional value to the (organic) berries I buy - something like 4% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, and that is it. So, at what point in the production of those berries are the vitamins lost? Is it whatever processing they undergo before they are frozen, or the freezing itself that destroys them?

I'm just trying to decide whether it is worth it to stock up on organic berries this summer and do my own freezing. Since I don't have much freezer room at all, buying the berries as we need them is appealing...
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I do know that some nutrients are lost to freezing, then more are lost to cooking. What I do not know is how MUCH of it is lost.
That said, I also know that the package tells you precious little information about what is in the food, health-wise or otherwise.

For example, a package of apples lists Vitamins A and C, but we know that apples have ALL this stuff in them.

I think most of the 'loss' of nutrients is in the lack of info on the packaging, but can't say that as utter fact.
Eeeeenteresting. I looked up both fresh and frozen strawberries on For one cup of each (152 g. fresh, 149 g. frozen unthawed), they listed the following:

Calories 49 52
Sugars 7 7
Vit A 0% 1%
Vit C 149% 102%
Calcium 2% 2%
Iron 4% 6%

Ok, now we know that strawberries don't gain calories or iron by freezing. Nor is vitamin C significantly destroyed by freezing (certainly not on the order of 1/3). I think it's a matter of differing labs doing the tests, or different qualities of samples. I don't put much faith in the accuracy of the testing that determines "official" nutrition counts in foods. If nothing else, samples vary greatly in nutritional value based on where the product was grown, how it was grown, what variety of the product it was, how long it's been harvested, at what stage of ripeness it was harvested, etc. etc. In certain respects, I'd guess that frozen strawberries are more nutritious than fresh, because they can be harvested more ripe. Fresh strawberries ripen so fast that they have to harvest them underripe.
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All frozen fruits and veggies are blanched before freezing. Bye-bye nutrients!
That's weird about the blanching. I have a bag of frozen strawberries by Dole: and I can't find anything about them being blanched before packaging... In fact they just look like they've been flash frozen with just a tiny ice glaze. I also have a bag of mixed berries including black berries. I doubt that they are blanced cuz they would've fallen totally apart. They are in perfect 'fresh' looking condition
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Contact the company. IT's a big debate on raw food boards. Frozen fruit is not technically raw due to the blanching. The company will tell you. If you freeze them yourself it will keep nutrients intact.
From this site it specifically says not to blanch berries:

Blanch fruits first [except berries, see below]: although most produce can be frozen immediately, blanching is the best way to stop oxidization. Peel, wash and cut up first, then plonge into boiling water briefly. Remove from the water as soon as it comes to a boil again. Cool the fruits on the counter; then package and freeze. Never freeze something hot or lukewarm, ice crystals will form inside cells and break them down.

Cook up a storm: make a big batch of stewed fruit, sauce or juice and freeze, thus preserving their goodness for the weeks and months ahead.

Cooked/baked fruit dishes [soups, purees, jams, sauces, juices...] will keep longer.

Freeze berries individually [do not blanch]: spread fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries in a simgle layer on cookie sheets and freeze. As soon as they are hard, bag, label and store them in the freezer.
And here:
The Univ of Wisconsin talks about blanching veggies but not berries.

I did call Dole. Mary, the CS rep I spoke with told me that the their frozen fruit is washed twice, first in a lightly chlorinated water bath
then a follow up wash, drained and then flash frozen in a slingle layer, then packaged.
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Well, I never bothered with them since we don't do berries that aren't organic-now I'm really glad of that! I know that the ones that I read letters from (posted communally from people who contacted them) did say they blanched the berries. I just try to do them myself. I pick alot during season and freeze them myself. ANd if I don't have enough I make allowances for nutrient loss.
Thanks for all the info, ladies! I went ahead and contacted Cascadian Farms to ask them what the deal was - I suspect that it is blanching like many of you have suggested. I guess this means I'll be doing a lot of freezing this summer.
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OMG! I was so shocked when I read this. I have been making smoothies every day with spinach (fresh) bannanas (fresh) and frozen strawberries/mangoe/blueberries/rasberries. Some days I only have the frozen stuff. I checked the bags: mine say Strawberries Vit C 40% Fresh it is 140% by the store nutritional guidelines. I've been getting so gypped and had no idea! I am glad I read this thread. I'm pregnant and DS is still a toddler so I counted on the daily smoothy for a lot of nutrients I apparently wasn't getting.

Needless to say, I bought some fresh strawberries and (gasp! wow are they expensive!) blueberries. I can get a whole bag of frozen blueberries for the price of a handful of fresh. I'm with you on the freezing fresh fruit in the summer. I'll be doing that too.
another good thing is too buy in season. Buy lots when it is cheap and freeze!
thanks for all the info!
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Strawberries are starting to come on in southern California, but the thing to catch now is the oranges. They'll be gone very soon and are great in smoothies. Well, valencia oranges will take their place, but they've got seeds -- too much work for a smoothie IMO.
I haven't tried any oranges in smoothies yet, what do you combine them with?
havent tried it in a smoothie, but i love orange pineapple banana juice, but it would be an awesome smoothie
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