The right pre-treatment
Strawberries are typically considered sensitive products when they are handled mechanically. The usual pre-treatment is washing and dicing or slicing (if desired). A very important factor that can substantially improve the freezing result and thus the quality of the IQF strawberries is the pre-cooling. A colder infeed into the freezer results in better quality and the OctoFrost team recommends processors to aim for 5°C.
One of the challenges while freezing strawberries is to preserve the natural appearance of the product after freezing. This is especially difficult when the strawberries are diced or sliced because the high sugar and water content of the product will make the pieces sticky, increasing the high risk of lump formation.
Overripe strawberries and strawberry pieces should be removed, otherwise the soft juicy jam will spread to the other strawberry pieces and create blocks and lumps.
The right freezing equipment
"It is really important to choose the right freezing equipment when individually quick freezing strawberries. One of the major features that needs to be considered is the type of belt used to carry the product inside the freezer during the entire freezing process. IQF freezers with a metal mesh belt will most likely leave belt marks and burns on the product, thus affecting the quality of the end IQF strawberry.
"The OctoFrost IQF tunnel freezer's perforated bed plates play an important role in preventing belt marks and burns on the surface of the IQF strawberries. The OctoFrost bed plates are built from food grade plastic and the strawberries are in a gentle continuous movement without sticking to the bed," said Salina.
"It is of course exciting that the IQF strawberry market is growing, but we shouldn’t forget that the consumer’s expectations are growing as well, at an equally high rate. Therefore investing in innovative, sustainable IQF technologies like the OctoFrost IQF freezer, is the future in strawberry processing."
For more information:
Salina Liang 梁 军
Tel: +86 13600 171812