BEST PRACTICES FOR FREEZING ASPARAGUS
Asparagus is a high value product on the market and in the case of IQF asparagus, food processors need to pay extra attention to pre-processing techniques and most importantly to the freezing technology used to freeze this product.
Pre-cooling is not to be ignored
For premium quality IQF asparagus, the first step is to start the cutting of fresh asparagus, then the selection, blanching and cooling of the product. OctoFrost team recommends that the pre-cooling is made with a hydro cooler at +7oC. Asparagus can be frozen at higher infeed temperatures as well but this can negatively affect the capacity. After these first steps, the freezing process in the IQF tunnel freezer can begin.
Arrangement on the belt and light airflow
Asparagus is quite a particular product to freeze, which is why in comparison to other food products where you want the air to move the product and create a complete fluidization, for IQF asparagus - the air circulating inside the IQF tunnel freezer need to be set in such a way that the product is not moving at all. Also, the loading of the asparagus should be in the cross direction of the belt movement, in order to avoid the risk of the product rolling out to the bed side. Processors can load as much product as possible as long as there is still airflow going through the asparagus pieces.
A premium product means a happy customer
Consumers are willing to pay more for premium quality healthy food products that have natural appearance, shape, color, taste and texture and the OctoFrost Frozen IQF asparagus is just that. The OctoFrost™ IQF tunnel freezer is the most innovative IQF tunnel on the market, having the best results with asparagus. Besides a good quality product with natural appearance that can be sold at a premium price, asparagus processors will also have a higher yield of the production, leading to more product to sell.
Consistency in freezing quality saves money
Traditional IQF freezers offer a two-belt solution for the processing of asparagus which breaks the tips of the product and the asparagus comes out unsorted. This is a typical issue with the two-belt solution which requires more people at the outfeed to sort the asparagus. The OctoFrost™ requires limited manual handling since the product is placed in good order into the freezer and comes out in the same order at the outfeed.
Every food product is different and requires different freezing techniques in order to achieve the best freezing results. OctoFrost team has extensive experience in IQF freezing and will gladly help you with any questions you might have about your processing line.