Do frozen vegetables contain more nutrients than fresh?

Peas say it ain't so... Could frozen vegetables really be healthier?

Peas say it ain't so... Could frozen vegetables really be healthier?

Is it true that frozen vegetables contain more nutrients than fresh? S. McInnes

We trawled through lots of research, various reports and results of experiments that compared frozen food bought at the supermarket with fresh food bought at the supermarket. The tests were supervised by reputable establishments that included the US Department of Agriculture and the University of Western Sydney. In a nutshell, frozen is as good as, if not better than, fresh vegetables for some nutrients. Depending on the test, some fresh vegetables had more calcium. The logic goes that vegetables grown for processing are harvested when ripe in the field, so are naturally high in nutrients and are processed shortly after harvest, thus preserving those nutrients. Supermarket vegetables are often picked when they are ripe enough to look ready to eat, but not too ripe to be fragile and be damaged during transport. So frozen vegetables are generally more nutritious than fresh vegetables bought at the supermarket. However, the tests didn't compare frozen vegetables with those freshly picked at the natural peak of the season. The tests also didn't compare texture or flavour. In my humble opinion, frozen vegetables are chewy, watery and flavourless lumps on a plate often served with overcooked roast lamb and packet gravy.

Snap frozen: Are vegies straight from the freezer any healthier than fresh? Photo: Natalie Boog

Snap frozen: Are vegies straight from the freezer any healthier than fresh? Photo: Natalie Boog

While preparing green prawns, I noticed that all their ''veins'' were under the belly of the prawn and not on the top. K. Brooks

Having working with many highly trained professional chefs, I was taught that the technical name for the ''vein'' was ''poop chute''. That is, until your letter arrived. We contacted the Australian Prawn Farmers Association and they were delighted that we were taking interest in their little crustaceans. They told us prawns have three possible dark lines that run through the body and just one is the poop chute. This is the one that people normally remove from the dorsal side (top) of the animal and is also known as the gut or intestine. The second possible dark line in females is the ovary and can look like the gut to an untrained eye. Thirdly, on the underside, is the nerve cord, which is much thinner. One member of the association said, "I suspect that the prawn's guts were empty and so the nerve cord is definitely a possibility [as] often [it] can appear quite dark."

In France and Spain, I often enjoyed salade de chevre chaud (warm goat's cheese salad), which seemed to be readily available. I am having a hard time finding the correct cheese in Australia. It requires a log cheese with a rind. Any ideas? C. Valvo

When in France I only eat tripe, sausage, duck and seafood. As it has never occurred to me to eat a salad in France, I tracked down my great vegetarian cheese-loving mate Will Studd to the United States, where he was shooting another episode of Cheese Slices. Studd advised: "Goat's cheese is a great grilling cheese because its composition means it holds its shape. The mould-ripened buchette used for this dish in France is Saint Maure, but you can also use chabichou and chevrot. These are hard to find in Australia because they don't travel well. They can be substituted with a local fresh chevre, or mould-ripened varieties such as La Luna from Holy Goat."

What is F1 wagyu? G. Leigh

For one thing, F1 wagyu is not a car race organised by Bernie Ecclestone. Mind you, it would be interesting. Nor is F1 the real wagyu beef the Japanese love. F1 means it is the first cross, or offspring, of a full-blood wagyu bull and an angus cow, for example. "Wagyu have horns," says wagyu breeder Neil Prentice. ''But angus don't. Wagyu has the monosaturated 'healthy' fat and angus don't. An F1 has neither horns nor the 'healthy' fat." He says that about 85 per cent of beef labelled as wagyu is F1. Prentice compares wagyu to the Porsche Cayenne and F1 wagyu to the Volkswagen Touareg. Both share similar genetics, in this case the chassis, but you wouldn't want to be paying Porsche prices for a Volkswagen.

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