What’s Wrong With Frozen Food?

Most households have one. A refrigerator. Preferably with a freezer tray. We purchase these “time machines” to help us manage  the pressures connected to today’s scheduling and co-ordination of domestic (and work, and social, and.. ) life. We fill them. Sometimes out of necessity, or to cater for those nights you don’t feel like leaving your home. The way you organize your fridge, probably reveals more about you than your Facebook profile.

Originally, I used my fridge as a way to extend the shelf life of some of my vegetables. Not the fruiting ones (such as tomatoes and pepper), but the salads, herbs wrapped in a wet towel and root vegetables (carrots, beetroots). Nowadays, in my small apartment, the fridge has turned into highly valuable space. It is always full. I fill it up for the sake of using all the space I have in my kitchen, for food. And I realize that once the food found a comfortable spot on the back of a shelf, or the left corner of my freezer tray – I totally forget about it.

Don’t they say “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, that definitely holds for me and the contents of my fridge, and freezer in particular. Fridges and freezers make us think food will last forever. But we still throw away more than 30% of the food we buy. Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, even equals “the growth of American refrigerator volume”  to “the growth of American body-mass index”. (Fortunately, my fridge is really, really small.)

To me,  frozen food either needs to become so valuable, or exciting (or pretty – as the berries shown above), that I just cannot forget about it. Till date, what’s on offer in the frozen goods department of many supermarkets does not look appealing. Boxes with squares of spinach, bags with peas and pizza boxes. All catered toward shopping food “we might need”.

Please, learn from Picard! This French food chain specializes in frozen goods. They open gourmet stores in large French cities. Here you find frozen escargots and quiches, instead of peas and pizzas. Frozen vegetables contain more nutrients than the “fresh” vegetables we buy in the supermarket. There are Dutch companies, such as Iglo, who even guarantee that their vegetables are frozen within 24 hours after harvest, making them “field fresh” and thus healthier than what we deem “fresh” produce. Although I can truly appreciate the effort, it won’t suck me into that chilly corner of the supermarket.

So, could you do without your freezer? And your fridge? Or would you die for a see-through fridge, like I do?

2 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Frozen Food?

  1. I’m skeptical about the statement that frozen foods are healthier than ‘fresh’ food. Actually, what should we define as fresh?
    I always attached the notion that frozen foods were unhealthy, besides, it costs energy to ‘freeze’ them.
    I suppose, to minimize energy consumption due to refrigeration, it is better to consume vegetables the day they are purchased.

    I agree, our refrigerators are designed to inevitably waste food! Sad but true.
    The design needs a re-think.

  2. Hi Venky! Yes, I agree that freezing food also consumes excessive energy – but for some types of vegetables it might pay-off, because they need to be eaten within a short-time after harvest. And frozen foods are often less healthy, when mixed with other ingredients in a prefab meal. Best would be to eat veggies as soon as possible after harvest – the first one to touch the food, after the farmer, should be you. And, on the design-note, maybe design fridges as waste-bins, so you really think before you stuff all your groceries out of sight! Who knows what’s next in our kitchens..

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