IQF Spinach Optimal Processing

IQF Spinach Optimal Processing

Spinach is increasing in popularity thanks to the variety of recipes it can be used in, as well as the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals contained therein. Thus, it comes as no surprise that spinach is said in the article as one of the healthiest vegetables on earth. Steady rise in popularity has led spinach to become a star in the field of frozen food and especially IQF food processing. This method offers significant advantages to traditional freezing techniques: more nutrients preserved, better taste and feel. In fact, given the correct circumstances, IQF frozen spinach might even be richer in nutrients than its counterpart that is freshly plucked, yet transported for a significant distance.

In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about optimally processing spinach, cut or whole, throughout the IQF process. We hope you'll enjoy it.

Step 1 – Optimization

Simply processing leafy greens isn't enough – each has got its specifics, and taking them into account can improve the end product significantly. For instance, when processing spinach, blanching and chilling needs to be quick . Following this method, it’s possible to lock in the nutrients and texture, giving it a crisp texture and preserving the largest number of vitamins possible.

Blanching serves to deactivate the enzymes eating away the vegetables, lending them more longevity. High-quality systems are crucial in supplying your equipment line with the necessary functionalities in ensuring the process is fast and efficient. Octofrost’s IQF spinach line has a custom-designed blancher that allows for multiple temperature zones, to reduce the final blanching temperature and avoid over-blanching. Otherwise, many of the nutrients may be lost.

Step 2 – Product separation

Once the spinach has been blanched and chilled to a low temperature, it’s vital to dewater to avoid creating lumps in the final IQF product. Here, too, there are several methods, such as using a centrifuge or pressing it. However, that may still leave some lumps, which is where Octofrost’s innovative technology again came into play. They’ve developed a tedder that automatically lightly rakes the spinach, preserving its shape and texture, while separating the clumps.

Preventing the formation of clumps makes it more efficient to freeze and creates a better result.

Step 2 – Product separation

Step 3 – IQF Freezing

Now that we’ve got the product well-separated and chilled to near freezing degrees, it’s time to freeze it properly. IQF frozen vegetables can last for an exceptionally long time and do so without losing their shape or texture. Here, the innovative bedplate technology from Octofrost supplies a patent outlook into the future of IQF processing. More sanitary than belt alternatives, they allow for quick, efficient, and on-the-run replacement, without interrupting processing.

Additionally, they use asymmetrical movement to move the spinach and avoid freezing into lumps . The adjustable fans in the freezer further improve the freezing process by neither blowing too hard nor lowering the efficiency of the process.

The freezer allows for the best processing of IQF vegetables, as it is designed to handle fragile or difficult raw materials with ease. The freezing method allows for creating only exceedingly small water crystals, which don’t breach cell walls and therefore preserve the integrity of the leafy greens. That leads to a more appealing result, which can be packaged and sent to the delight of customers.

Freezing spinach optimally requires the necessary technology. That’s why Octofrost has supplied a handy freezing method for IQF chopped spinach, as well as the whole variety. The equipment is quick to install and requires minimal intervention – significantly increasing your yield, efficiency, and automation. Octfrost’s IQF processing line features the IF Blancher, IF Chiller, Tedder, and of course the IQF Tunnel Freezer. Together, they’re certain to simplify, automate and produce the best IQF frozen spinach possible.