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Important goal when IQF freezing broccoli is maintaining bite and color

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-09-29  Views: 16
Core Tip: Broccoli is a vegetable that poses a challenge when thermally treated (blanching, chilling, then IQF freezing).
Broccoli is a vegetable that poses a challenge when thermally treated (blanching, chilling, then IQF freezing). The challenge is mostly in the thick stalk combined with the thin florets. This makes creating a consistent texture difficult. Given the variety in thickness of broccoli, overcooking is rather easy. This can also lead to a mushy texture upon defrosting.
Cleshawn Montague, Marketing Coordinator at OctoFrost, explains what’s crucial when IQF freezing broccoli: “The most important goal when processing veggies is making sure we prevent loss of color and damaging the structure while the thermal treatment is in process. Broccoli and cauliflower need a little extra love and caring. The best way to do that is to use the premium processing equipment available, to ensure the process is done efficient and will not blanch the produce. Doing it this way will make sure the IQF broccoli maintains its bite and color."

Avoiding soft-textured IQF broccoli

“Having complete control over temperature and time significantly helps when blanching the broccoli. The OctoFrost IQF Processing Solutions can also achieve quick chilling, thanks to its rain shower system and the tunnel freezer that allows you to set the optimal fan speed.” Montague continues.

When broccoli is over-blanched, loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals occurs, together with the mushy texture. This means the timing is crucial. Adjusting the belt speed and turning on/off the correct amount of showers is critical. Since there is complete control over the temperature across the blancher, the cooking results will be the same for the entire batch.

“There are a couple of reasons as to why quick chilling is very important: To stop over-blanching by the immediate blanching stop and to provide an infeed temperature that’s lower than 5C. This will increase the quality and the yield of the final product by a tremendous amount. Having the infeed temperature below 5C ensures that in the IQF freezer - the product will quick crust-freeze at about triple the speed rate. The OctoFrost IF Chiller has the capability to achieve this temperature, whereas traditional chillers usually achieve an infeed temperature of 15C.” Montague explains: “Once the IQF freezing stage is reached, a gentle balance of the fluidization and bedplate movement is required. This avoids the broccoli clumping together. On top of that, an excess amount of movement can actually damage the florets and cause losses to the final yield. Broccoli surface water is quite high, sometimes as high as 10%. This isn’t an issue thanks to the controlled fan speed along with the perforated bedplates.”

Another crucial part of producing the best possible IQF broccoli is making sure the individual pieces of food processing equipment are optimized to work together. This means harmonization in size and capacity over the entire processing line, to reach high quality IQF broccoli without losing any energy efficiency or yield.

The benefits of a complete IQF processing line

Experience has pointed out that the efficiency of the IQF freezer is as important as the efficiency of the processing equipment that comes before it. This is of great importance as the final freezing result can be compromised if the equipment that comes before the freezer in the IQF processing line is not optimized. This is why OctoFrost offers a complete IQF processing line and turnkey solutions for broccoli processors. This means producers can have the benefits of efficient equipment and only one supplier for the complete processing line.

With the OctoFrost IQF Processing Solutions processors can offer premium quality IQF broccoli thanks to:

1、Control of temperature zones in the OctoFrost™ IF Blancher
2、Quick chilling the efficient rain shower system in the OctoFrost™ IF Chiller
3、Frequency converters on each fan in the IQF Tunnel Freezer

Montague concludes: “The temperature zones in the OctoFrost IF Blancher, the quick chilling effect of the rain shower system in the OctoFrost IF Chiller and the ability to adjust each fan in the OctoFrost IQF Tunnel Freezer as well as the bedplate technology that comes with, broccoli processors can improve the overall color and crispiness of their IQF broccoli!”


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