Fruits are one of the hardest products to store in your pantry. Not only do they have a relatively short shelf-life, but it’s also a bother to find the right place to order them from in bulk. An astounding development in packing technology is IQF packaging or “Individually Quick Frozen”. Also known as Flash Frozen products, this packing technology can increase the sustainability of your fruit products without turning them into popsicles with ice crystals. If you haven’t been buying your fruits this way, then here are a few facts about why you should make the switch.
Individually Quick Frozen or IQF
A biologist in Canada discovered the process of Flash Freezing or more commonly known as IQF. An unexpected fishing trip led him to icy waters of below 40 degrees which made him see a peculiar observation; fish that instantly freeze once inthe cold snow. Though out of the water, the fish would still respond compared to traditional fishing where once set in a cooler with ice, the fish stopped responding faster.
Flash-frozen products are different from frozen products since every individual piece of the fruit is frozen separately from other products. Instead of being found lumped together in the freezer area of the supermarket, Flash-frozen products are contained in bags separate from other fruits. Everyday IQF frozen products include blueberries, peaches, vegetables, and even certain shrimp and meat products.
The effects on products
The impact on the fish of the low temperature is the basis of the IQF procedure. The packaging is done by having the food items stretched onto a convert belt that freezes every piece quickly to prevent the formation of harmful ice residue. The process of fast freezing creates smaller ice crystals which prevent it from forming larger crystals that damage tissue fibres in the cell walls. The smaller size ensures that the cell threads of the food do not quickly dry out the product’s water content leading to quick spoilage. Buying from IQF fruit suppliers in the UK is a primary choice for most local restaurants as the products have longer shelf lives which mean fewer trips to the grocer.
The process of flash-freezing
The method of flash freezing allows there to be little to no crystals formed as they only appear on products frozen from between 31 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If meat or fruit products are stored in this way for an extendedperiod, there are higher chances that ice crystals form. The ice forms after around six hours in the ten hours that your products are kept in the freezer to reach the low level of freezing.
IQF does the freezing in less than two hours; what is traditionally done in ten hours of freezing. IQF freezing does the process faster, moving from room temperature quickly past the 31 degrees Fahrenheit mark to reduce the formation of the crystals in under thirty minutes. Conventional freezing leaves your meat and fruit products susceptible to having ice crystals if you use your normal freezer to store your items.