Our company specializes in the development of freshness retainers for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. We place a lot of emphasis on retaining the natural taste and the fresh look of the fruits. Retaining freshness is just one step in the process, which builds up on previous steps. Each step is affecting the finished product. In this post, we'd like to summarize the 5 mistakes we keep encountering but that are easy to avoid at the same time.
The right fruits and vegetables
The first step will probably already be clear to many of you, but we still encounter this challenge day in and day out. When preserving freshly cut fruits and vegetables, every step affects the quality of the final product. It all comes down to the quality and, most importantly, the ripeness of the fruit. At FOOD freshly® we have already developed a number of individual solutions for the preservation of freshly cut fruit and vegetables, but we have not yet reversed time. Once the ripening processes in the fruit have progressed beyond a certain degree, they cannot be reversed. For the best result, the fruit or vegetable used should be of the right quality and ripeness.
It all depends on the right tool
In addition to the right fruit and the right freshness retainer, the most important thing is the correct use of the cutting tool. Long intervals between machine maintenance often result in dull blades used to cut the fruit and vegetables. The dull blades quickly cause pressure marks and small bruises on the fruit, and visible browning spots form. Sharp blades give clean cuts without damaging the fruit and the freshness retainer can act on the uninjured fruit.
At first sight good results with conventional additives
Within the processed fruit and vegetable industry, we repeatedly encounter the two food additives citric acid and sulfites as conventional agents for supposed freshness preservation - even in highly modern processes. These two additives alter the taste characteristics of the fruit in such a way that, for example, more sugar has to be used in following processes to override the sour taste of the citric acid. Apart from the impairment of the natural taste, however, the real problem is the alteration of the fruit by these aggressive agents. Citric acid and sulfites permanently attack the cell structure of the fruit. The end result is that the product becomes soft and loses its fresh feel.
The right temperature
As mentioned above, every step in fresh fruit and vegetable processing contributes to the quality of the finished product. If one step deviates from otherwise high quality standards, it is immediately noticeable. Unfortunately, in our analyses we still observe that the cold chain is not always maintained throughout. The natural products react sensitively and temperature deviations are immediately noticeable in the final product.
In the Covid 19 pandemic, the aspect of room hygiene has certainly taken on a different meaning. Even before the pandemic, the issues of room hygiene and ventilation systems with cleanroom filters were key factors in determining the quality of freshly processed fruit and vegetables.
Do you process fresh fruit or vegetables? We have been working closely with the industry for many years and have developed many individual solutions for specific preservation requirements. Contact us.