You have a garden full of fresh produce – WAY too much to eat. What are you going to do with it? Freezing is the quickest, but is it the healthiest? Canning takes longer, but also provides you with increased freezer space and longer shelf life. Read more to determine what’s best for you.
Canning vs Freezing
First of all, “Fresh is best” when you are looking for the most nutrients. BUT ONLY choose fresh if you are getting it straight from the source or farmers market. “Fresh” store-bought produce is usually out of season food, is not fresh, and has already lost most of its nutrients.
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With canning, fruit is picked ripe from its source. It is then blanched (boiled quickly in hot water), and then canned in more hot temperatures. Canning fruit and veggies has a longer cook time because it needs to kill all the bacteria. This extra cook time will kill more nutrients but not all of them.
It is also important to consider the added salt and sugars when canning. If you personally are doing the canning, then you can control this as opposed to buying canned food from the store.
The Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving is a great read to learn how to can safely.
There are 2 types of frozen fruits and veggies: store-bought and self frozen. Personally, freezing your fresh produce is one of the easiest ways to take care of extra produce. This is the healthiest way you can find fruit (outside of eating it right from the source).
Produce starts to lose its nutrients within 2-3 days after picking. So when picked produce at its prime, that is the best time to put it into the freezer. It will maintain all of those healthy ingredients and is the healthiest choice.
Frozen foods from the store are blanched (like canning), but NOT cooked. Instead they are cooled and then frozen. This does cause some nutrients to leak out in the process, but not as many as the canning process.
What about fresh?
That is a good question. Fresh fruit at times can contain LESS nutrients than frozen OR canned. It’s true! I was shocked to learn that too. There is a catch, this is for out of season and mostly store-bought produce.
Store bought produce is picked prior to the prime ripe stage. Then it is washed, processed, packaged and shipped to the store (sometimes across many states). That means that before you even buy the fruit from the store, most of the nutrients have already been lost due to heat, temperature, and oxygen exposure.
The exception is fresh produce from a local farmers market. This fruit is picked, sometimes washed, and then put up for sale. You are buying and eating that fruit within a few days. In that case, the fresh fruit would be just as healthy as the frozen fruit you picked from your garden and put in your freezer.
Canning vs Freezing. Which is best? Food right from its source is best. Frozen is second. Caned is third. Personally, we prefer freezing because it takes less time and I can do it in smaller batches. If you are looking for more information HERE is a great article about the pros and cons of canning vs freezing.
If I have a lot of food about to go bad, then freezing will save you time. Versus if you have extra time and want to have fresh veggies “out of season”, then set aside the time to can. One thing that I can 75% of the time, is chicken on sale.
Personally, speaking from experience, I have a hard time getting anything healthy into my family’s tummies with how expensive “fresh” food is. If I have to use canned food, which has a fewer nutrients, then it’s better than no nutrients at all. What’s your opinion?
Are you willing to break the bank eating Fresh? Or will you save your pennies with canned?
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