file photo of vegetables. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Frozen Vegie Study

Some people regard frozen vegetables as a disappointing alternative when fresh veggies are not available.

But that is likely to change with new methods of preparing food for cold storage.

Dr. Tony Savard and his team from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s St-Hyacinthe Research Development Centre re-examined the usual way of treating vegetables -blanching – which refers to briefly heat-treating the vegetables before freezing.

While this method is helpful for ensuring food safety and preventing freezer burn, it also affects the taste and texture which some people don’t like even when nutritional value is retained.

The team worked with Bonduelle Amérique as part of the Canadian Food Innovator research cluster, to come up with a fresh alternative for processing vegetables for freezing: partially drying them using low doses of microwaves combined with a vacuum process.

Doing so avoided the breakdown of vegetable tissue that happens with freezing and thawing.

Ultimately, if new methods of food preservation can be developed then new markets will also be opened.

The domestic market for preserved fruits and vegetables is valued at $7.5 billion.

The export market is also strong, worth over $3 billion in 2015, according to Statistics Canada.