Embracing preserved produce

Organic Blueberries

Photo by Flickr member Artizone, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Fresh produce is great for you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you ought to give up on all lightly processed veggies and fruits. Kiera Butler has a nice post at Mother Jones that’s worth checking out. For example, she explains that

Some of the vitamins and minerals in produce start to degrade soon after harvesting, explains Diane Barrett, a food scientist at the University of California-Davis who has studied the nutritional differences between processed and fresh. By the time a stalk of broccoli makes it from the farm to the supermarket to your refrigerator, it has already lost some of its nutritional value. “Fruits and vegetables are frozen within hours of harvest, so that actually allows you to retain those nutrients,” says Barrett, who receives industry funding.

As I’ve said previously, when it comes to frozen peas, I couldn’t agree more.

Butler’s piece has “ifs,” and “mays,” and other qualifiers scattered throughout, but that’s largely a strength of her writing, not a weakness. (See, for example, her note above that Dr, Barrett’s work has had industry funding. That doesn’t in and of itself mark the findings as illegitimate, but it should give us pause.) This nuanced hedging reminds us that understanding the immense modern food system requires both an eye for detail and an appreciation of the complexity of modern life.  Check out the full post here.


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