IQF, individual quick freezing
IQF or individual quick freezing is a freezing method used in the food processing industry. Typically its used for smaller pieces of food like berries, fruits and vegetables, whether diced or sliced.
Emphasis on Quick
One of the advantages of individual quick freezing is that the freezing process takes very short time. The short freezing time prevents the formation of large ice crystals in the plant’s cells, which would destroy the membrane structures at the molecular level. This helps the finished product keep its shape, color, smell and taste after it is defrosted, and keeps the berries from becoming soggy.
If you have ever frozen vegetables from your own garden, you know that ice crystals will damage your beautiful produce and leave your food items soggy when defrosted. The IQF process, like freeze drying, preserves the cell structure of the plant material, so when you defrost our berries for use, they retain their firmness.
There are a range of IQF technologies, but the main process is to transport the product into the freezer on a processing line belt.
Inside the freezer, the product travels through the freezing zone and comes out frozen on the other side.
Southern Belle Organics uses a cryogenic IQF tunnel.
Emphasis on Individual
Using the IQF method, foods are frozen by sending the individual items on a conveyor belt into a blast-freezer that freezes the item at -105° for 5 minutes. Using this process produces 60 pounds of finished frozen product in 6 minutes.
Because the food items are individual and separate when they go in, they stay individual and separate after they’ve been frozen, and remain so until used.
Emphasis on Frozen
The demand for and interest in IQF facilities is global, due to the higher quality of the products produced. The practical benefits of this process are that foods can be stored in larger quantities and used as needed.
For countries like China and India, the large volume of foods that are produced and packaged, are expedited by IQF technology. Feeding millions of people is a never-ending process and the technology improves every year.
IQF is a common pre-treatment for freeze-drying food because both processes preserve the size, taste and cell structure of the food better than methods like block freezing or air drying.
The technology that allows us to individually quick freeze food items has been a great improvement to the world’s food preparation and preservation concerns. Thanks to IQF technology, frozen berries, when thawed, are almost as firm as fresh berries, and just as tasty.
State of the Art Equipment
Southern Belle Organics is proud to bring this IQF technology to the southeastern region of North Carolina. Our Bladenboro, NC facility is 25,000 square feet of food processing efficiency. Our newest facility in Whiteville, NC is 61,000 sq. ft. and includes additional IQF abilities as well as juicing and packaging expansions.
Shop Southern Belle Organics and enjoy the “Freshness with a Southern Charm”.