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Old 01-30-2009, 09:31 AM   #1
Frank Dennis
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Freezer vs. Fridge

I did searches for "frozen foods," "leftovers," freezer fridge," and a few others, didn't find what I was looking for, so I have a question for anyone who wants to chime in. Again, being verbose and not a little OCD, please forgive my lengthy explanation of the situation before I get to my actual question.

Starting on Monday, I'm going to be doing CF in the morning, working during the day, and training MMA in the evening 5 days per week. Between hours increasing at work, and my drive times back and forth, I have about an hour at home before I need to get to sleep if I want to make 8 hours. Saturday is also usually very very busy.

My diet I've got sorted, it's going really well. I'm switching it around a bit, from a 3 meal 2 snack plan to just 3 larger meals, because of my schedule change.

What I'd like to do, is to prepare and sort and containerize everything on Sunday, when I have plenty of time in the kitchen. Then, I'll have eighteen containers ready to go and can just grab two to take with me each day, eat the third when I get home.

It's my understanding that freezing can damage the nutritional value of foods, but I'm not really clear on to what degree. I'd prefer to keep the containers in the fridge, but I'm not sure that the food will last six days.

All my meat is pre-cooked, there's a bit of cheese, I use chopped and frozen broccoli and cauliflower. I eat an orange or a pear each day, or some berries, those I'm not worried about either. The rest is fresh, usually chopped:
onions
tomatoes
bell pepper
carrots
snow/sugar snap peas
spinach
zucchini


So, my question(s) is(are): would it be better once I get these meals portioned out to freeze them, or keep them in the fridge? Does anyone else do this sort of thing? Will anything on my list definitely not last six days? Is there anything which will go bad faster because it's been chopped up? How bad would it be in terms of nutritional quality to freeze this stuff?

Thanks!
Frank
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:44 AM   #2
Jeff Bocock
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Dennis View Post
I did searches for "frozen foods," "leftovers," freezer fridge," and a few others, didn't find what I was looking for, so I have a question for anyone who wants to chime in. Again, being verbose and not a little OCD, please forgive my lengthy explanation of the situation before I get to my actual question.

Starting on Monday, I'm going to be doing CF in the morning, working during the day, and training MMA in the evening 5 days per week. Between hours increasing at work, and my drive times back and forth, I have about an hour at home before I need to get to sleep if I want to make 8 hours. Saturday is also usually very very busy.

My diet I've got sorted, it's going really well. I'm switching it around a bit, from a 3 meal 2 snack plan to just 3 larger meals, because of my schedule change.

What I'd like to do, is to prepare and sort and containerize everything on Sunday, when I have plenty of time in the kitchen. Then, I'll have eighteen containers ready to go and can just grab two to take with me each day, eat the third when I get home.

It's my understanding that freezing can damage the nutritional value of foods, but I'm not really clear on to what degree. I'd prefer to keep the containers in the fridge, but I'm not sure that the food will last six days.

All my meat is pre-cooked, there's a bit of cheese, I use chopped and frozen broccoli and cauliflower. I eat an orange or a pear each day, or some berries, those I'm not worried about either. The rest is fresh, usually chopped:
onions
tomatoes
bell pepper
carrots
snow/sugar snap peas
spinach
zucchini


So, my question(s) is(are): would it be better once I get these meals portioned out to freeze them, or keep them in the fridge? Does anyone else do this sort of thing? Will anything on my list definitely not last six days? Is there anything which will go bad faster because it's been chopped up? How bad would it be in terms of nutritional quality to freeze this stuff?

Thanks!
Frank
I dont see any reason why all the above wouldnt keep well enough in the fridge. Why skip out your snacks though? Those are the easiest to prepare!!! Boil 7 eggs, buy 7 clementines, add some nuts... youve got yourself a whole weeks worth of 1 block snacks that are easy enough to eat on the run. For my other on the run snack I do 1 oz cheese, 1/2 cup grapes, and nuts. So easy
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:52 AM   #3
Frank Dennis
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

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Originally Posted by Jeff Bocock View Post
I dont see any reason why all the above wouldnt keep well enough in the fridge. Why skip out your snacks though? Those are the easiest to prepare!!! Boil 7 eggs, buy 7 clementines, add some nuts... youve got yourself a whole weeks worth of 1 block snacks that are easy enough to eat on the run. For my other on the run snack I do 1 oz cheese, 1/2 cup grapes, and nuts. So easy
There's alot of other stuff in my diet that's not in that list because I'm not worried about how it keeps; olive oil, walnuts, almond butter, cheeses, etc.

The reason I'm ditching the snacks is because I can't eat in client meetings, of which more than 50% of my workday consists. The way my eating schedule was broken down before, I was ending up eating snacks with meals anyway, or having to eat less than an hour before training (which I hate, I much prefer training if I haven't eaten at least 1.5 hours beforehand). So, I figure I'll just make it 3 meals and it should make the whole thing easier. The most important bit is being able to make and sort everything on Sunday, so I don't have to spend any more time on food during the week.
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:12 AM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

All of those items should definitely keep in the fridge. I see two potential issues. First, pre-chopped tomatoes would likely turn into tomato juice over the course of a week. It would be drinkable tomato juice, but too soupy for any other use. Cherry tomatoes might be a better choice.

Second, greens (like spinach) don't keep as well once they've been washed and chopped. Getting rid of excess water before you refrigerate them helps, but by the end of the week they'll start to lose some texture.

You can solve both problems at once by making a batch of spinach and tomato pasta sauce (Google for recipes), which is very simple, very tasty, and keeps well. It also works as a standalone vegetable dish if you're avoiding pasta because of the carbs.

Katherine
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
Frank Dennis
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
All of those items should definitely keep in the fridge. I see two potential issues. First, pre-chopped tomatoes would likely turn into tomato juice over the course of a week. It would be drinkable tomato juice, but too soupy for any other use. Cherry tomatoes might be a better choice.

Second, greens (like spinach) don't keep as well once they've been washed and chopped. Getting rid of excess water before you refrigerate them helps, but by the end of the week they'll start to lose some texture.

You can solve both problems at once by making a batch of spinach and tomato pasta sauce (Google for recipes), which is very simple, very tasty, and keeps well. It also works as a standalone vegetable dish if you're avoiding pasta because of the carbs.

Katherine
Katherine,

That's a great idea, thanks! I am avoiding pasta, but I could just mix that sauce in with some meat and cauliflower or something, or just eat it as a side dish, as you suggest.

Cheers,
Frank
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Old 01-30-2009, 11:18 AM   #6
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

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Originally Posted by Frank Dennis View Post
That's a great idea, thanks! I am avoiding pasta, but I could just mix that sauce in with some meat and cauliflower or something, or just eat it as a side dish, as you suggest.
Also an excellent vehicle for grated cheese. Just make sure you get decent tomatoes. This time of year in Indiana, that means either greenhouse grown or canned. "Standard" grocery store tomatoes are barely ripe, tasteless, and a complete waste of money.

(I may not know much about CF yet, but I love to cook...)

Katherine
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:07 PM   #7
Frank Dennis
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Also an excellent vehicle for grated cheese. Just make sure you get decent tomatoes. This time of year in Indiana, that means either greenhouse grown or canned. "Standard" grocery store tomatoes are barely ripe, tasteless, and a complete waste of money.

(I may not know much about CF yet, but I love to cook...)

Katherine
I confess to not having done alot of research, but I've been suffering through the less ripe Roma tomatoes (my faves, normally, they seem to have the highest flesh-to-juice ration) because I just presumed that canned were at the bottom of the nutrition ladder. I'll try canned; the hothouse ones are nearly $2 a pound.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:49 PM   #8
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

Now you've done it... As I said, I love to cook, and the state of the commercial tomato is one of my pet peeves. I'll try to be brief...

The ideal tomato is picked in your garden on an August afternoon and eaten that day. So ripe it almost falls into your hand, it requires almost no preparation or seasoning. Slice it, sprinkle with pepper and maybe a few drops of olive oil, and eat. Perfect. *That* tomato is what nutritionists mean when they say that fresh produce is best.

But that tomato is extremely perishable. It only exists at all for about two weeks out of the year. Mechanical picking, sorting, and boxing would turn it into tomato mush. It starts to deteriorate within days. So typical commercial tomatoes are picked when barely pink, "ripened" by exposing them to ethylene gas, bounced around in trucks for a week or two, and foisted on a public that has been conditioned to believe that fresh is always better. They taste like watermelon rind, only rind probably has more nutrition, and may contribute to the belief that foods that are good for you don't taste good.

It's possible to get a good quality fresh tomato in a store, but to do it the grower had to wait until the tomatoes were ripe, go to great lengths to avoid bruising them, and probably ship by air instead of by truck. All that costs money, as you've discovered.

Good quality canned tomatoes take perfect August tomatoes to a plant located near the field and cook them only as much as needed by the canning process. They do lose nutrients compared to the ideal tomato, but at least the nutrients were allowed to develop in the first place. They're far superior to the alternative. And since they taste so much better, you'll make up for any nutrition deficit by eating larger quantities.

As a general rule, taste and nutrition go together for vegetables. All the things that destroy taste also destroy nutrients, and vice versa. Fresh and locally grown is best, but frozen and canned can be perfectly good alternatives.

Bon appetit!

Katherine

Last edited by Katherine Derbyshire; 01-30-2009 at 02:57 PM..
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Old 01-30-2009, 05:02 PM   #9
Steven Matheson
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post

Second, greens (like spinach) don't keep as well once they've been washed and chopped. Getting rid of excess water before you refrigerate them helps, but by the end of the week they'll start to lose some texture.

Katherine
Bags of prewashed baby spinach solve that problem and are a life saver for me.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
Frank Dennis
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Re: Freezer vs. Fridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Now you've done it... As I said, I love to cook, and the state of the commercial tomato is one of my pet peeves. I'll try to be brief...

The ideal tomato is picked in your garden on an August afternoon and eaten that day. So ripe it almost falls into your hand, it requires almost no preparation or seasoning. Slice it, sprinkle with pepper and maybe a few drops of olive oil, and eat. Perfect. *That* tomato is what nutritionists mean when they say that fresh produce is best.

But that tomato is extremely perishable. It only exists at all for about two weeks out of the year. Mechanical picking, sorting, and boxing would turn it into tomato mush. It starts to deteriorate within days. So typical commercial tomatoes are picked when barely pink, "ripened" by exposing them to ethylene gas, bounced around in trucks for a week or two, and foisted on a public that has been conditioned to believe that fresh is always better. They taste like watermelon rind, only rind probably has more nutrition, and may contribute to the belief that foods that are good for you don't taste good.

It's possible to get a good quality fresh tomato in a store, but to do it the grower had to wait until the tomatoes were ripe, go to great lengths to avoid bruising them, and probably ship by air instead of by truck. All that costs money, as you've discovered.

Good quality canned tomatoes take perfect August tomatoes to a plant located near the field and cook them only as much as needed by the canning process. They do lose nutrients compared to the ideal tomato, but at least the nutrients were allowed to develop in the first place. They're far superior to the alternative. And since they taste so much better, you'll make up for any nutrition deficit by eating larger quantities.

As a general rule, taste and nutrition go together for vegetables. All the things that destroy taste also destroy nutrients, and vice versa. Fresh and locally grown is best, but frozen and canned can be perfectly good alternatives.

Bon appetit!

Katherine
This is brilliant, Katherine! I have an aunt in Ft. Wayne who keeps a sizeable garden, and one of the best things in the world are her fresh, ripe tomatoes. I've never had one come out of a store to compare, but I'd never have guessed in a thousand years that canned ones were nutritionally better than fresh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Matheson View Post
Bags of prewashed baby spinach solve that problem and are a life saver for me.
Actually, I do this too. It's worth the slight extra expense to me. I was worried about it perishing in general, but I don't actually chop it.

I should've probably mentioned in my original post; while I've been feeding myself for a while now, I've got no training in the kitchen, really. As Katherine pointed out, I've been conditioned that "fresh is best," and so while I'll buy a bunch of meat and freeze it, and have broken down and started buying frozen broccoli and cauliflower, I buy all other fruits and veggies fresh and never stock more than three days worth at a time. So I've never really experienced how long something might keep; this new desired change in my cooking routine necessitated this learning.

Again, thank you Katherine for the heads up on tomatoes. Of the veggies that the stores around here keep frozen that are on my mostly paleo menu, I'm already buying. But, are there any other things I'm picking up fresh which might are typically better nutritionally if bought canned, as the winter tomato is? Pretty much everything is out of season in Indiana now, so it's all coming in from somewhere else...

Also, are the store-brand ones as good as the name brand ones, or is there a significant difference?

Thanks again for all the great advice!
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