Is fresh really better than frozen? It depends.
"Fresh, never frozen." You've heard this before, right?
It's a catchy slogan because it sounds appealing. Who doesn't want fresh food? Furthermore, you probably have all kinds of associations with "fresh" food. Does it sound healthier to you? Does it sound better? More nutritionally dense?
There's reasons for this. Most freezers aren't made to freeze food well. They're made to keep already frozen food cold. But if you were to put fresh food in them, it would likely take hours to actually freeze that food. And what would happen during that time period?
First, ice crystals will form on your food. The formation of these crystals sets off a series of events that affect your food. The crystals form between the fibers of the food, "breaking" the fibers up - and losing nutrients in the process.
Moreover, if you're ever eaten meat with freezer burn, you know that it affects the texture of the overall product. There's discoloration, but parts of the meat may also be tougher or cook differently as a result of this freezer burn.
So if this is the case, why do we freeze our meat? Well, at Little Way Farm we flash freeze our meat. And this is an entirely different process.
Flash freezing requires two processes: vacuum sealing and the actual freezing process. Vacuum sealing creates an airtight seal around the meat product, preventing freezer burn, discoloration, and dehydration. When meat is sealed properly, it's good for at least a year - if not longer.
Then, the sealed product is then put in a commercial freezer that freezes the meat within minutes - not hours. Hence the "flash" freezing. When products are frozen this quickly, ice crystals don't have time to form - preserving not only the makeup of your food, but the nutrition as well. On our farm, we're able to achieve this through our new walk-in freezers.
And flash freezing doesn't require the addition of any artificial preservatives, either. It's just the meat, preserved right.
So it isn't necessarily that fresh is always better than frozen. Just that it depends on how your food is frozen.
Do you have any thoughts on the "fresh vs. frozen" debate? I'd love to hear your thoughts.