Fresh is best in my book – homegrown if possible, and home cooked if you have the time. I’m also a big fan of batch cooking and freezing when you can. Why? Because I know what’s gone into the food, how it’s been cooked, and therefore it’s down to me to make sure it’s healthy (or naughty if I so wish!).
We’re lucky enough to have an allotment and space in our garden to grow our own fruit and vegetables, and my husband is extremely passionate (and good) at doing so. It means we know that the veg is fresh as soon as we use it, and can grow the stuff we know we’ll use. On the flip side, it also means we can have a glug of vegetables at any one time, and therefore batch-cooking is required. Yesterday I made 1.5 litres of tomato sauce for pasta dishes, and today tomato soup – using up some 2kg of tomatoes I had picked over the past five days. I find it quite therapeutic and satisfying to pick veg and cook with it, then go to the freezer a few weeks later and use what I have made 🙂 I also know it hasn’t been packed full of sugar and other additives like some supermarket and branded versions.
I read an article at the weekend that highlighted the ‘age’ of some of our foods when we buy them from the supermarket, and I was so shocked! The piece appeared in The Sun newspaper (UK) on Saturday 22 July, and was a real eye-opener. It stated that bread could be 1 year old at purchase – which is really down to part-baked dough that is frozen – and that your tomatoes could be SIX WEEKS old because they have been stored at an optimal temperature. But the one I was really shocked at was potatoes – those roasties you tuck into with your Sunday dinner could be up to a YEAR OLD – because they have been treated with a preserving chemical, particularly at seasonal time to avoid shortages! And don’t get me started on ‘fresh fish’ – there’s a reason it can’t be frozen at home……
So for me, fresh is best, and batch-cooking when I can is the way forward. And the things we can’t grow? Some educated choices when shopping. Life is busy, and we all want convenience, but with good planning and a bit of effort I can be happy I know what’s on my plate.