Here at DR HQ, we’re so familiar with the benefits of frozen food that we sometimes forget to shout about it. So – consider this a SHOUT!
There are so many advantages that I barely know where to start. First, and most simply, freezing food preserves it right at its most tempting, appetising point of freshness. For veg, this is likely to be shortly after it’s harvested, while it’s still all crisp and dewy. For fish – straight after it’s plucked from the icy depths. And for meat, of course, after it’s been matured for exactly the right amount of time to develop its ultimate flavour and tenderness – something that’s best judged by an expert, as we do here. Freeze it right at that point, and on defrosting – hey presto, fabulous, fresh, nutritious food.
Of course, eating things before they’ve been frozen is great if you know exactly how old they are. But increasingly, we get misled into buying things that are much (and I mean much) older than they appear. Whether it’s pumping packs full of a mixture of gases, adding artificial preservatives or even freezing things before selling them on as ‘fresh’ (yes, this happens a lot – why do you think so many mass-produced products are ‘not suitable for home freezing’?), retailers can artificially extend the life of many products. Supermarket fish, for example, can be kept on ice – not frozen, just chilled – for weeks before it’s sold. I don’t know about you, but the thought of that gives me the heebie-jeebies.
So, flavour, texture and nutritional value are preserved by freezing. But there’s even more to it than that. Some things are very seasonal by nature – a lot of fruit and veg, obviously, but also things like fish and game. There are few things I love more than the intense flavours of Scotland’s bountiful wild game, and by freezing a couple of packs of pheasant or partridge breasts or diced venison, I can enjoy it whenever I like, not just when it’s in season. Some fish, likewise, can only be sustainably caught at certain times of the year. There are other ways of preserving it, sure, but they tend to involve salt, oil, vinegar or even artificial preservatives (not for me, thanks), and all I tend to want with fish is a simple fillet, dotted with butter and lightly grilled.
Another thing (I know, I’m going on a bit!) is that I hate waste. Food should be carefully sourced, well cooked and EATEN – anything else shows a distinct lack of respect, as far as I’m concerned. A truly mind-boggling amount of food that we buy gets thrown away after spoiling – or even worse, not even reaching any customers in the first place. By freezing it in appropriate portion sizes, until it’s needed, you can be pretty sure it will actually reach the plate it was intended for.
So, to summarise:
- Freeze in season – that way you get to get ‘eat local’ all year round.
- Freeze at the right time – that’s spanking fresh for fruit, veg and fish, and at the optimum maturity for meat.
- Freeze in the right way – we shock-freeze hard and fast here at DR, which prevents ice crystals forming in the meat, meaning a better texture on defrosting.
- Freeze in the right size – individual portions mean that you only defrost as much as you need.
- Freeze for flavour – you’ll get the very best in flavour, texture and goodness without the need for artificial nasties.
There you go – it’s nice to ice!