HOW TO ACHIEVE PREMIUM QUALITY IQF RASPBERRIES
One of the most challenging products for IQF freezing are raspberries. Raspberries are delicate berries with particularities which make them brittle when frozen and easily breakable into crumbles during the freezing process. Everything from the natural structure of this berries, to the soil they are grown in and the harvesting procedures, makes raspberries a sensitive product.
Traditionally, raspberries are summer berries, but with the increasing demand of IQF raspberries on the frozen foods market and with the help of new technologies, producers made sure that raspberries can now be found all year-round.
There are some essential aspects that IQF raspberries processors need to keep in mind while individually quick freezing this much loved berries, if they are aiming for premium results. We will take these aspects one by one:
The first step for achieving premium IQF raspberries is the raw material.
The quality of the fresh raspberries that goes into the IQF tunnel freezer is very important. Too overripe berries are more fragile and will be easily damaged. Also, the way the berries are picked is quite important. Raspberries that are machine-picked are usually more damaged than handpicked raspberries and if it rains during the harvesting season then the challenge is even greater.
It is recommended that the berries are harvested at their optimum stage of maturity, regardless of the variety of raspberries that is going to be individually quick frozen. Usually the berries have an intense red color at this stage.
The second step for premium IQF raspberries is the freezing pre-treatment process.
It is highly recommended that raspberries are pre-cooled in cooling chambers between 5°C and 8 °C . Sometimes the raspberries are washed and sprayed with chlorine.
The third step for achieving premium IQF raspberries is choosing the right IQF freezing equipment.
There are many options nowadays when it comes to freezing equipment, and most of the time, raspberry processors are finding it difficult to choose between different IQF manufacturers.
Processors want high quality IQF raspberries, high yield and less product loss, which all translates into safer and bigger financial earnings.
The OctoFrost IQF tunnel freezer is one of the only freezing equipment that has proven excellent performance to handle the most difficult and even overripe raspberries. Compared to a traditional IQF belt freezer, the OctoFrost produces higher percentage of first class berries and consequently almost no crumple and pulp.
How is it possible that this freezer in particular has such excellent result? It is quite simple really. The OctoFrost team continuously listened to the needs of frozen food processors and implementing them into the latest OctoFrost™ freezers. With years of research, experience, know-who and practice on the field, the OctoFrost team created an innovative, sustainable freezer that individually quick freezes even the most difficult products while preserving the natural appearance, color, texture, taste and shape of the raspberries.
What makes this freezer so innovative and thus capable to produce premium quality IQF raspberries is the ability to create the optimal fluidization. The OctoFrost™ is built with up to 5 different freezing zones, adjustable fan speed and removable bedplates made of food-grade plastic. The 5 different freezing zones and the adjustable fan speed help create the optimal air flow inside the freezer, while the removable bedplates with holes allow the air to pass through the bed, gently pushing the raspberries into the air and making them dance slowly, towards the outfeed of the freezer.
The OctoFrost removable bedplates are extremely important because compared to the usual mesh steel belts of traditional IQF freezers, the OctoFrost bedplates don’t damage the raspberries. The berries barely touch the bed which means that they will not get stuck on the belt, won’t get freeze burns or marks and thus translate into high quality IQF frozen products.
In a nutshell, we can sum up by saying that in order to achieve premium quality IQF raspberries you need good quality raw material, right pre-cooling temperature and last but not least, a freezing equipment that is capable to create the optimal fluidization inside the freezer.