Advances in food technology have significantly transformed the way we eat. For instance, there are now many processed substitutes for the fresh food we love. Apart from that, frozen or canned foods are now cheaper and way more available than fresh food in many places. Several arguments are revolving around the issue of consuming fresh food vs. processed. For instance, does fresh food taste better than processed?
What Is The Deal With Organic Food?The Answer is Almost Always Yes
Fresh food almost always tastes better than processed foods. It tastes even better when it has just been harvested. For instance, produce like fruits and vegetables from Fields and Table Riverview is tastiest when fresh. If you are lucky enough to buy locally, some of the produce would have been picked in the morning at the peak of ripeness.
A few hours after the fruits have been picked, they will be in your hands. This will allow you to experience the maximum flavor, touch, and smell of the fresh food. If the food in question is fruit, you might even see some tiny hairs on the fruit, maximizing the eating experience. While there are some processed fruits that will taste nice, most people find that fresh fruit is always superior. The best way to eat fruit is when it’s farm to table like Fields and Table Riverview.
Apart from that, research shows that fresh foods boost happiness! However, you might have to revisit the definition of fresh. Most people just serve some items at their expected temperature then label them fresh. The true definition of fresh food refers to food that has not been frozen or preserved in any way. You can find such food from Fields and Table Riverview. This way, the food will retain its maximum freshness, nutritional value, and taste. Such foods, if thoughtfully prepared, will taste way better than processed food.
Why Do People Choose Processed Food?
A lot of people do not pick processed foods for their taste. Instead, they choose them simply for convenience. Processed foods are easier to access nowadays. However, people don’t know that fresh ingredients are sometimes a bit cheaper than processed ones. There are a lot of steps required to process food items. This means that there is a higher cost associated with making processed foods, which can make them more expensive to acquire.
For instance, raw brown rice is significantly cheaper than a smaller quantity of boxed rice mix. The latter usually contains more additives like dehydrated vegetables, white rice, and some seasoning. You might also note that choosing fresh is a bit easier as well. Your selections will be limited to mainly fruits, meat, and dairy.
The Cost of Processing Foods
When food is processed, there is a lot that is compromised. Unlike fresh ingredients, which have the best flavor profiles, any processing, like canning, freezing, or drying, will most likely deteriorate the quality of nutrients, natural colors, fiber content, and, most importantly, the flavor. To test this theory, one can simply compare the taste of fresh, frozen, and canned carrots. You will note that the fresh carrots will retain their bright orange color and crispiness. On the other hand, the frozen or canned carrots will be discolored and will not be as crispy.
Apart from the taste, food processing also reduces the nutritional content of food. It might even strip away those important antioxidants that are necessary for your immune health. Research on this is still ongoing, so it might be difficult to tell exactly what processing food takes away from its nutritional content. You will also note that much of the fiber in food is lost during processing. This will make it challenging to meet the daily dietary fiber requirements of 25-30 grams per day.
Why Does Fresh Taste Better
When food is fresh, like the produce you can buy from Fields and Table Riverview, it will peak in flavor and nutritional content. However, you must note that flavors degrade with time. Processed food can sit on shelves for years. It is packed with preservatives which enables it to last longer while fresh food will go bad quickly. However, these preservatives will not lock in the original taste of the food. All they do is stop it from getting bad.
Also, the processes that food undergoes during processing are quite harsh, destroying the original flavor. For instance, before food is canned, it is usually heated beyond boiling. This is done to sterilize the inside so that it can be shelf-stable for long periods. Unfortunately, these heating processes also deteriorate the taste of the food, which is why fresh tastes better.
Another thing about fresh food is that it’s usually cooked once before you can eat it. This is unlike processed foods which are often reheated several times. When food is subjected to repeated heating, there will be damage to its texture, which harms the taste.
Most Processed Foods Are Frozen at Some Point
Freezing is known to greatly affect the taste of some fresh foods. This is especially true if the freezing is done “improperly.” When food is not frozen properly, ice crystals will form within it. This will damage the molecular structure of the food and cause it to become “mushy.”
In addition, the texture is a huge contributor to the taste of food. Therefore, this change in texture can greatly affect the taste of food and make it less flavourful.
Again, when you buy processed frozen foods, there will be ice in the cells. When you reheat the food, the tiny flavor particles and spices might be lost in the steam and the runoff water. This makes the food less tasty.
It is known that heat can denature enzymes in food and make it less flavorful. What most people don’t know is that extreme cold can do the same as well. So when food is frozen, the same denaturing processes can cause it to be less tasty than when fresh with all its proteins intact.
When food sits frozen for long periods, the flavors in it might start blending. This causes the food to have less distinct flavors, making it inferior to fresh food. Also, when you buy processed food and freeze it, it is important to ensure that it is properly sealed.
Once you break the seal, the food might start absorbing odors that can mask the food’s original flavor and make it inferior to fresh food.
How Does Heat in Food Processing Systems Affect Flavor?
High heat is the primary enemy of flavor during food processing. While controlled heat levels are essential to developing food flavor, too much heat, such as that used in food processing, can have detrimental effects.
You must first note that the heat levels involved in industrial food processing are different from home preparation. Many techniques are applicable in the home that will not be practical in an industrial setup. Unfortunately, alternative heat processing methods will not always deliver the same flavors as those expected when fresh food is cooked at home.
The difference in the types and levels of heat can cause the same flavor precursors to go through different reactions, which will lead to very different flavors.
What Does Heat do?
Heat causes volatilization. This is the loss of flavors due to the flashing off of volatile flavor components when food is heated in industrial setups. This usually happens because many of the flavor compounds in food have a lower boiling point than the heat levels used when processing food. These compounds might even be mixed with foods requiring a higher temperature, so there might not be a practical workaround.
You must also note that different flavor components are affected by heat differently. As a result, the volatilization of food flavors will reduce the overall impact of the food flavors and throw the entire flavor system off balance. Some flavors will disappear because of heat, and some will remain and become more dominant. As a result, there will be a change in taste from the original fresh flavor of the food. The extent to which the flavor will be thrown out of balance depends on the processing conditions and the amount of heat used.
The degradation of flavor components of food can take place in both open and closed food processing systems. Apart from volatilization, heat will also accelerate certain chemical reactions that are supposed to take place between flavor components and the other ingredients. This will eventually affect both the taste and the aroma of the food.
Because of heat, many flavor components can vanish into these matrices. This also depends on the chemicals present in the food and the nature of the protein and/or starch matrix. Some foods are more susceptible to these interactions because of the presence of certain chemicals, which when present, will destabilize an otherwise heat stable flavor system.
There is a lot that happens to food during processing. As such, it is safe to conclude that there is a great chance that fresh food will taste better than processed food. To get the maximum flavor from food, you can try farm-to-table produce from Fields and Table Riverview and similar suppliers.