Plants that have survived freezing conditions do so by making their own frost of sugary starch
Frost is often the enemy of plant plantations. It’s a constant cause for my stress as I plant tomatoes and peppers every spring, not to mention being a meteorologist because most of the thin crops come in the fall. In London, the first hard frost tends to strike now.
There are some crops that are not frost is the enemy, but positively reward, greatly improve the flavor. Here is my guide on the crops that can benefit frost, how it works, and the ways in which gardener can use it.
When temperatures drop, water inside the plant cells freezes and expands when they turn into ice. This breaks the steel wall of fibers that surrounds each cell that forms the plant tissue, causing the dissociation of building blocks in physiology.
Plants that have survived freezing conditions have developed ingenious ways to prevent this from happening. In the case of many vegetables, they do this by making their antifreeze, which reduces the degree of freezing of the liquid in their cells, and only occurs that this natural freeze is a delicious one.
When probes detect low temperatures in plants, plants increase the production of starch-digesting enzymes, usually used as energy storage, into simple sugars. It is the release of these sugars that increase the concentration of solids within their tissues and prevent them from freezing, such as road salt, with the side effect of making the crops taste sweet. These sugars also help to balance the flavor of sour or sour chemicals, resulting in a better flavor.
This phenomenon, surprisingly, is most dramatic in crops that contain large amounts of starch, meaning root crops (they are after all storage members) such as white carrots, carrots, beetroot, turnips, Swedes and celery. Even crops that are not technically as strong as sweet potatoes will do the same. Tubers are protected from the worst temperatures by an insulating layer of soil after their higher growth has been eliminated. It is also noted in leaves and stem crops such as leeks, Brussels sprouts and turnips. In fact, even people who do not usually like the bitterness of buds (like me) find them more acceptable and tasty even after they have a touch of frost.
The only exception to this rule is potatoes. Although the same phenomenon plays its part, excessive sugars and starch cause the tubers to become coherent and are often perfumed with caramel while cooked, making them watery, somewhat savory, and fungus. But in the vast majority of vegetables in winter, frost means a positive boost of flavor.
the best thing? You do not have to do anything to get the benefits of resisting the temptation to harvest early, and simply enjoy the added flavor it can bring.