1. Why is eating fruit and vegetables really essential for our health?
Vitamins are organic substances, which our body needs to stay healthy. To function optimally our body needs no fewer than 13 different vitamins. As our body cannot make these substances, it gets these essential vitamins from fruit and vegetables.
2. The vitamin and mineral content of vegetables: what do they do and what are they in?
|Vitamins||What do they do?||What are they in?|
|A (retinol or betacarotene)||Antioxidant action||Carrots, spinach, garden cress and watercress|
|B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6||Convert the nutrients in food into “fuel” for the body||Legumes, spinach, asparagus and cauliflower|
|Folic acid||Contributes to the formation of red blood cells||Fennel, asparagus, carrots and parsley.|
|C||Prevents anaemia. Prevents fatigue and stimulates the Immune system.||Peppers, cabbage, parsley.|
|K||Important for blood clotting.||All vegetables|
|E||Antioxidant action||All vegetables|
|Minerals and trace elements||What do they do?||What are they in?|
|Potassium and magnesium||Required for the muscles to be able to contract||Legumes, artichokes and cabbage|
|Calcium||Essential for the formation, growth and sturdiness of bones||Legumes and any green vegetables|
|Iron||Constituent of red blood cells, improves the supply of oxygen to the body tissue||Any green vegetables|
|Fibre||What do they do?||What are they in?|
|Necessary for good digestion||Pease, corn, salsify.|
3. “It is necessary to add preservatives to be able to keep fresh vegetables for as long as possible”
Not true: fresh vegetables contain no preservatives: blanching destroys certain harmful enzymes, stopping vegetables from developing further, and ‘freezing’ them, as it were, in their current state. This means there is also no decay.
Most people think that fresh fruit and vegetables are crammed with vitamins. But what people often do not realise is that ‘fresh’ vegetables nowadays have frequently undergone a long journey before we get to eat them. The whole process of picking, transportation, storage and distribution actually takes quite a long time. And it is during this lengthy process that large quantities of important vitamins and much of the nutritional value vanish.
4. “Colouring agents are added to carrots and peas to give them their lovely green or orange”
Not true: Blanching fixes the natural colour of the vegetable and makes it more intense. The deep green colour of garden peas or the orange of carrots is not produced with colouring agents. The colour comes from the natural pigments in these vegetables coming to the surface.
5. “Freezing harms vegetables, as does putting them in the freezer at home”
Not true: Freezing is an industrial process in which the temperature at the core of the vegetable is lowered quickly without harming the cell structure. Your freezer at home stabilises food in the condition it happens to be in. A home freezer lowers the temperature relatively slowly (it takes an average of 24 hours). This can have a negative effect on the cell structure because large ice crystals are formed in the cells. As a result, it is important to keep the time between the freezer cabinet in the store and the freezer compartment at home as short as possible.
Ardo vegetables are frozen within maximum 5 hours of picking, ensuring that there is a minimal loss of vitamins during transportation. When the vegetables are blanched (brought quickly to the boil to destroy harmful enzymes) we also give this our fullest attention. The length of time that vegetables are blanched, after all, affects the vitamin content in the packed vegetables. In the process of cleaning, blanching and freezing, optimal conditions prevail at all times. And the result? All the goodness of the vegetables is retained, even after many months in the freezer.
6. “Frozen vegetables have as many nutrients as fresh vegetables”
True: fresh vegetables at home are not usually used in cooking immediately after they are picked, so some vitamins will have been lost through oxidation. Vegetables are also often boiled or cooked for too long. With frozen vegetables, the time between picking and packing is very short. Once they reach your plate, processed vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, regardless of the way they are prepared.
Let’s make a comparison :
Quantity of vitamin C (mg/100 g)
Freshly picked peas 22.1
Fresh peas (after 2 days) 14.1
Deep-frozen peas 20.2
Freshly picked spinach 17.0
Fresh spinach (after 2 days) 4.1
Deep-frozen spinach 14.6
Freshly picked French beans 16.4
Fresh French beans (after 2 days) 7.9
Deep-frozen French beans 14.3
(Source: Deutsches Tiefkuhlinstitut)
7. “With frozen vegetables, you know exactly what you are buying”
True: the label provides a whole range of information:
- The name of the vegetable and possibly the way it has been prepared, its size (sorting);
- Information about the nutritional value;
- The net weight;
- The name and address of the organisation that processed the vegetable, as well as the packing company or the supermarket;
- The country of origin if the product does not come from a country in the European Union;
- The ingredients, in order of quantity;
- The batch number, making the vegetables traceable.
8. Why should I visit easyvegetables.com ?
This European website was created to promote fresh-frozen vegetables. In the spring of 2006, a campaign was launched in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, with the support of the European Union, to emphasise the importance of fresh-frozen products. The campaign was aimed at teachers, journalists, dieticians and consumers, with a joint logo and slogan to support the initiative in the various countries. Ardo fully supports this campaign. We are also very pleased to announce that a European website will shortly be going online featuring a whole host of interesting information about perfectly preserved vegetables. You can find out more by visiting easyvegetables.com for information about: everything to do with diet and the importance of vegetables, more information about the production process, the ‘convenience’ aspect of freshly frozen vegetables, lots of downloads, such as the University of Ghent study into the dietary value of processed vegetables, interviews with specialists from various sectors, recipes, press reports etc.
9. What about genetically modified sweetcorn?
Ardo implements a strict policy against the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We have set up a complete programme to keep GMOs out of our production process at all times. Given the recent developments in genetically modified sweetcorn we take the following steps to guarantee that our products are 100% GMO-free.
- auditing the seed supplier
- screening the seed
- separating the zones from other sweetcorn fields
- inspecting of the harvested sweetcorn
10. What is the most popular vegetable?
Interestingly, tomatoes are the most popular vegetable! The type of vegetables that people eat depends on their age and family situation. At least so it would appear from the figures in a Belgian study (Flemish Centre for agriculture and fisheries marketing). As a result, families with children have a preference for carrots, tomatoes and peppers. The over-50s are particular keen on celery, beans, legumes and asparagus.
The most popular vegetable ‘overall’ is the tomato. Just as for other vegetables, young families often fall back on the chopped variety for tomatoes. Ardo offers them the perfect solution. Our freshly frozen tomatoes are available in cubes. They contain no seeds or liquid, which saves you a lot of time in the kitchen. And their deep red colour, firm texture and full, sun-ripened flavour all make them greatly superior to canned tomatoes. The quality is fully comparable with that of fresh tomatoes.