How to produce premium quality IQF broccoli

2018-10-17

Broccoli is a food product that’s difficult to thermal treat (blanching, chilling, then IQF freezing). The thick stalk in combination with the thin florets makes it hard to achieve a consistent texture. Due to the varied thickness of broccoli, it’s very easy to overcook it. This is one reason IQF broccoli becomes mushy upon thawing.

The main goal when processing vegetables is neutralizing enzymatic activity to prevent decoloring and structure damage during thermal treatment. Sensitive vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower require extra care. This means that the processing equipment used must be highly efficient so that it doesn’t over blanch the products. This is the only way IQF broccoli will maintain its bite and natural color after blanching and chilling.

How to Avoid Soft-Textured IQF Broccoli

OctoFrost IQF Processing Solutions is unique in that you’re able to have complete control over the blanching temperature and time, achieve quick chilling through the rain shower system, and set the optimal fan speed in the tunnel freezer.

Over-blanching causes the loss of flavor, color, vitamins, and minerals—in addition to mushy texture. Therefore, processors should set the appropriate time for blanching. It’s critical to adjust the belt speed and turn on/off the correct number of showers. Also, by having complete control over the temperature zones in the blancher, there'll be no difference in the cooking results for the whole batch.

Quick chilling is extremely important for two reasons: immediate stoppage of the blanching process so the product doesn’t over blanch and provides an infeed temperature below 5C which will significantly increase the quality and the yield of the end-product. It’s important to have an infeed temperature that’s below 5C as it will make your product quick crust-freeze three times as fast. The OctoFrost™ IF Chiller can accomplish this whereas traditional chillers usually achieve an infeed temperature of +15C.

iqf broccoli

Once you get to the IQF freezing stage, you must gently balance the fluidization and bedplate movement to avoid having the broccoli clump together. Too much motion can damage the florets and create significant losses. Also, broccoli surface water is usually very high, some reaching as high as 7%, OctoFrost™ technology can handle this thanks to the controlled fan speed together with the perforated bedplates.

The other important thing to keep in mind when producing premium IQF broccoli is the optimization between each piece of food processing equipment. The food processing line should be harmonized in size and capacity to achieve high-quality IQF broccoli without compromising energy efficiency and high yield.

Turnkey Solutions for A Complete IQF Processing Line

With the experience of seeing numerous broccoli processing lines around the world, we at OctoFrost have learned how crucial it is to use modern processing equipment in combination with an efficient IQF freezer. This is very important as the final freezing result can be compromised if the equipment that comes before the freezer in the IQF processing line isn’t optimized. OctoFrost offers a complete IQF processing line and turnkey solutions. This gives producers the advantage of having the most efficient equipment and a single supplier for the whole line. Processors can offer premium quality IQF broccoli thanks to:

octofrost processing line

  • Control of temperature zones in the OctoFrost™ IF Blancher
  • Quick chilling effect of the patented rain shower system in the OctoFrost™ IF Chiller
  • Frequency converters on each fan in the IQF Tunnel Freezer

Thanks to the temperature zones in the OctoFrost™ IF Blancher, quick chilling effect of the rain shower system in the OctoFrost™ IF Chiller, and the frequency converters on each fan in the OctoFrost™ IQF Tunnel Freezer as well as bedplate technology, broccoli processors can improve the overall color and crispiness of their IQF broccoli.

The OctoFrost team has extensive experience with the freezing of broccoli and can offer a set of valuable information to IQF broccoli processors. Contact sales@octofrost.com for more information.