Pros and Cons of Fresh VS Canned VS Frozen Vegetables

Nick Mirev
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    For generations, food preservation has helped people prepare for the winter season. Nowadays, even though there is an abundance of food on the shelves of supermarkets, food preservation techniques like home canning and jellying are still used. The most popular way to preserve food is by refrigerating or freezing it. Another common way is by canning. Canned foods are convenient and increasingly popular. That’s why the canned food market has seen growth in recent years. In this post, we’ll discuss the differences between canned vs frozen vegetables and fruits. Make sure to also read our articles on canned food in restaurants and wholesale canned goods.

    Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

    Fresh produce is rich in fiber and vitamins. It’s an important part of the diet. Let’s examine the main benefits of fresh produce.

    1. Nutritious. Fresh fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients as they can be.
    2. No preservatives. Most food preservation techniques require additives. Whether it’s salt, sugar, or sulfites, additives are found in almost all types of preserved foods. Fresh products don’t have any additives.
    3. Natural flavor and texture. Fresh produce has an intact texture and taste. This makes it a preferred choice for many chefs.

    Cons of Fresh Produce

    Although eating fresh and locally-grown fruits and vegetables is considered the healthiest option, it has some disadvantages compared to buying preserved products. 

    • Limited shelf life. Fresh products stay that way for only a couple of days. They need to be kept in a refrigerator or they will deteriorate even faster.
    • Food waste. A large percentage of fresh produce is thrown away due to its limited shelf life. Food waste in restaurants and households needs to be narrowed down in order to cut costs.
    Key takeaway: Fresh, frozen, and canned food products have their benefits and disadvantages. The prolonged shelf life of frozen and canned goods makes them a good way to reduce food waste. However, in terms of flavor and texture, fresh produce is preferred by many.
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    Benefits of Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

    Frozen products have many benefits when comparing fresh vs canned vs frozen vegetables and fruits. Let’s examine some of them.

    1. Variety of options. Unlike fresh products, there are various frozen vegetable mixes. Both households and businesses in the restaurant industry purchase such mixes as they can significantly speed up cooking.
    2. Frozen at peak ripeness. Frozen products are manufactured at peak ripeness. That ensures they are nutritious and rich in vitamins.
    3. Prolonged shelf life. Compared to fresh produce, frozen goods have a longer shelf life and can be safely used months after they have been frozen.

    Disadvantages of Frozen Produce

    • Not suitable for all fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers, citrus fruits, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables are not suitable for freezing. If they are frozen, their taste and texture are significantly affected.
    • Storage requires constantly low temperatures. Frozen products are not a suitable option for an emergency pantry. They require electricity and constantly low temperatures. That’s why when comparing canned vs frozen vegetables, the former is preferred for emergency food supplies.
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    Benefits of Canned Fruits and Vegetables

    The increased popularity of canned goods has led to the introduction of various canned food recipes. From canned tomato soup to spaghetti and meatballs, customers can find various types of ready-to-eat options. That’s why some households even buy and stock their pantries with bulk canned food. In the debate of fresh vs canned vs frozen vegetables, here are the pros of canned goods.

    1. Easy storage. Although canned products need to be stored in a cool place and away from direct sunlight, they don’t need constant refrigeration or electricity.
    2. Lower price. Manufacturers in the canned food industry purchase ingredients from produce distributors at wholesale prices. This allows them to reduce the cost of goods sold and maximize profits. That’s why canned products are sometimes cheaper compared to fresh and frozen ones.
    3. Long shelf life. Canned goods can be safely stored for 12-18 months. In fact, some of them can be consumed even after their expiration date. Keep in mind that their nutritional value deteriorates with time.
    4. Convenience. A busy lifestyle makes ready-to-eat canned products a convenient option for a meal that requires little to no preparation.
    5. Availability. Canned goods are among the high-demand products and can be found in grocery stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Multiple eCommerce retailers also sell products made by canned food businesses. Some products like certain types of caviar or imported seafood can only be found in cans.

    Cons of Canned Products

    Despite the various advantages of canned vs frozen vegetables, there are drawbacks too. 

    • Additives. A lot of canned products have added preservatives like sugar or salt. Their frequent and excess consumption is not recommended.
    • Changes in texture and taste. High temperatures during the canning process change the flavor and texture of fruits and vegetables. That’s why many business owners and chefs in the food service industry frown on the usage of canned products in their establishments.

    Other Food Preservation Methods

    There are dozens of techniques that help extend the shelf life of food. Some of them are obsolete and rarely used while new ones have emerged thanks to technological advances. Besides freezing and canning, here are other food preservation methods.

    1. Freeze-drying. This method can extend the shelf life for decades. However, it requires a special freeze-drying machine.
    2. Pickling. The process requires adding acidic liquid like vinegar.
    3. Sugaring. This is one of the earliest methods to preserve food. Sugar reduces water content and slows bacterial growth.
    4. Vacuum packing. Limiting the oxygen levels stops bacterial growth.
    5. Preservatives. Thanks to research and chemical advancements, there are many additives that can be used to extend the shelf life of food products. Popular ones include nisin, sorbates, sodium nitrate, and sulfites.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Canned VS Frozen Vegetables

    Whether you’re looking for information on canned vs frozen vegetables and fruits or wish to find out more about the canning industry, our blog has tons of useful information. The BlueCart team has gathered some common questions about fresh vs canned vs frozen vegetables. Check out their answers below.

    Do Canned or Frozen Goods Last Longer?

    Generally speaking, canned products have a longer shelf life compared to frozen ones. Separate product groups last differently. For example, most frozen fruits can be consumed one year after the freezing. However, that timeframe is only 4-6 months for citrus fruits. That’s why it can be difficult to compare the shelf life of canned vs frozen vegetables and fruits.

    Are Frozen Products Healthier than Canned?

    Generally speaking, frozen products are healthier than canned ones. That’s because canning requires more heat processing. Despite the multiple advantages of canned foods, one of the drawbacks is that some nutritional value is lost. That’s especially true for produce. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals some of which are lost during the canning process. 

    An additional reason why different types of canned food are considered to be less healthy compared to frozen ones is that consuming canned goods increases the exposure to BPA plastics. Luckily, most manufacturers are switching to BPA-free types of packaging.

    Is Canning Harder than Freezing?

    You only need to put fruits and vegetables in a freezer in order to freeze them. That’s why canning is considered to be harder than freezing as the process has more steps. However, frozen products need to be constantly kept below the freezing temperature. That’s why when comparing canned vs frozen vegetables or other products, it’s safe to say that canned goods are much easier to store.

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