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A juicy piece of fruit evokes images of sunlight and warmth. But manufacturers take the reverse route and freeze the harvested products to keep their nutritious mix of minerals, fibers, and vitamins intact. Frozen fruit processing equipment takes temperatures down to around -18 °C, giving the foods an extended lease of life. Many smoothies, jams, and purees we consume are the fruit of frozen labor.

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Precool the materials before the fruit freezing process

Fruits are typically stored and delivered at ambient temperature or slightly refrigerated. To prepare the material for freezing, reduce the sensible heat of the foods. This energy is absorbed through direct sunlight or warm molecules in the air.

Precooling halts the post-harvesting deterioration and retains the water content of the fruit. Precooling methods depend on the sensitivity of the product. Forced air cooling, for example, adapts well to delicate foods like berries, while more robust fruits like citrus can sustain water cooling techniques.

Apply fast temperature reduction for frozen fruit processing equipment

When the products are subjected to supercooling, temperatures, drop gradually to freezing. Around this stage, the first change in phase starts occurring, and ice crystals form.

As fruits are processed through freezing technology, the molecules in the liquid content begin to collide and aggregate. This nucleation process affects the quality of the end product and depends on the freezing time. Fast freezing creates smaller ice crystals and distributes them more evenly. Conversely, a slow process leads to larger crystals that deform and puncture the cell membrane of the foods.

Peel and cut products before the freezing stage

Larger frozen fruits such as bananas or mangos are often shipped peeled and sliced. These activities, however, accelerate the degradation of products if performed after freezing and thawing.

Cut the items before freezing to retain their maximum nutritional and sensory properties. Peeling should also be done pre-freezing. To remove the skin, scald the fruits in hot water or lye solution or by steaming.

Pretreat fruits in syrup to prevent damage from ice crystals

Oxidation poses a significant challenge to the appearance and texture of frozen fruits. Soak the food in a sugar and water mixture before the precooling step. The sugars absorb moisture from the cells, reducing freezing within the membrane and protecting its structure.

The sugar ratio in the syrup ranges between 30% and 60%, depending on the natural sugar content in the fruit. For example, Kiwi, guava, and grapes require a lower sugar concentration than grapefruit, apples, and raspberries.

Processing steps involved in frozen-fruit making

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