"Can I safely use frozen vegetables or fruits to make baby food purees and refreeze them?"
One of the most commonly asked question is "Can I safely use frozen vegetables or fruits to make baby food purees and refreeze them?". YES! You can refreeze frozen veggies & fruits! We have no idea why some book(s) may say that it is not OK to do. There are no studies or research to show that refreezing is negative and/or may adversely affect health. We can only surmise that those books are geared to promoting the consumption of only fresh, organic foods and they ask that you shun anything that may be frozen or "conventional". The caveat is that you must cook the foods prior to refreezing them.
Using frozen fruits and vegetables is the second best option to using fresh foods. The process of flash-freezing (foods being frozen at a very low temperature and frozen very quickly) actually preserves and allows for optimal nutrient retention.
Picked at the peak of freshness, a vast majority of frozen veggies are flash frozen either right in the fields or in the warehouse close by. "Fresh" veggies may sit around in trucks and warehouses and criss-cross the country before it even makes it to your table.
The fact is, cooking foods deplete more nutrients than does freezing foods. Contrary to myth, Freezing foods (fruits and vegetables in particular) does NOT deplete 100% of that food's vitamins and minerals. The process of freezing, if kept at a constant 0 degree temp does not contribute to a TOTAL loss of nutrients - if it did, then the majority of the population would be malnourished as we rely on and eat a large amount of frozen foods.
If you ever forget what the "rule" is, remember this example : you can take out a roast that was frozen uncooked & raw, thaw it, cook it and then freeze the leftovers for another meal. Once you have thawed the leftovers, you should never re-freeze the leftover-leftovers!
The package says not to refreeze!
We received the following from one of our visitors:
Q. Just reading the section on using frozen food to make baby food and then refreezing. I was just concerned because on the package (Green Giant Peas) it says to not refreeze thawed product. Do you know why that is??
A. You should never refreeze a thawed product, that is correct. Refreezing thawed products may affect the taste and quality (and possibly very minutely, the nutritional value) of the product. You should ALWAYS cook a thawed product prior to re-freezing it! Cooking a thawed product will allow you to then re-freeze it for one cycle.
Frozen veggies are NOT cooked when packaged and so they must be cooked prior to eating. Please be sure to read the label of your frozen veggie bags as some brands of frozen veggies do come pre-cooked. You would not want to refreeze these! For more information concerning freezing food and food safety, see the following:
USDA Freezing Guidelines
Freezing Prepared Foods
Freezing Food from NDSU
Do's and Dont's of Freezing
Food & Nutrition - Storage & Freezing from UIUC
American Frozen Food Institute