Opinion: A guide to perfection for IQF mangoes

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Opinion: A guide to perfection for IQF mangoes

By OctoFrost Group business coordinator Svetlana Plotean

It is exciting to observe how the frozen food industry is experiencing an increasing demand for instant quick freeze (IQF) fruit, especially for strawberries, raspberries and mangoes. Research shows that global revenue from IQF fruit for 2016 was estimated to be US$8 billion; an impressive number that can be explained by a rise in demand for frozen ingredients for bakery, confectionery and dairy products.

It is now clear that frozen fruit is preferred to canned fruit.

I see the growing popularity of IQF mangoes as a consequence of IQF technology development. The end customers have cultivated their taste and have higher expectations today and that’s a fact. As the traditional freezing methods are not enough anymore, the IQF mango processors are challenged to find the best freezing technology to deliver high quality products.

So is there a secret recipe for success? Our team at OctoFrost has gathered several fundamental best practices from mango processors; practices which can ensure a high-quality IQF mango production, and here they come.

Controlling the ripeness stage, mango maturity and brix level

If you want to get high quality IQF mangoes, it’s important to only select the fruit that reaches the appropriate maturity and ripeness stage.

Before starting the freezing process, check the peels and select only the mangoes with intact peels, avoiding the ones with brown spots. After you selected a batch of optimally ripened mangoes, cut each of them in half and check the color of the pulp, which should be uniformly yellow.

After that, press the pulp with your finger. If it feels firm and the finger doesn’t plunge into the pulp, the mango is ready to go through the IQF process. Again, it’s essential for the mango pulp to be firm before being frozen, because a pulp that is too soft puts the mango to the risk of forming corals and lumps.

When it comes to the mango’s brix level it’s important to keep in mind that an accepted international level is between 11 and 14. In the case of Asian mangoes the brix level can even reach 22, which means that the product will need more careful handling.

Appropriate cutting and dicing equipment

It is recommended that peeling and cutting is done manually with high quality, sharp knives. Using automatic machines to dice the mango will result in irregular shapes on the mango’s edges, forming small pieces that can stick on the IQF mango cubes and create corals during the freezing process, and no one wants that to happen, right?

Pre-cooling before freezing

Next step: pre-cooling - keep in mind that it is very important to cool down the mango right after dicing. It’s recommended to use cooling water close to the freezing point, since the mango’s temperature will slightly increase while it’s transported on the conveyor belt in order to enter the freezer. Therefore, if you want to obtain high quality IQF mango, its temperature should be lower than 5°C (41°F) before entering the freezer.

You might see this as an extra effort but trust me when I say it is so worth it if you want a good freezing result.

Efficient dewatering

Almost there. Make sure the mango is properly dewatered after cooling if you want to obtain a superior IQF mango. The maximum surface water should not exceed 2%.

Even infeed

And we are finally entering the freezer. We have seen that experienced IQF mango processors consider the optimal choice for infeed to be the vibrating conveyors. The positioning of the infeed conveyor is of crucial importance as a too high drop can damage the surface of the product. And finally, don’t forget that feeding must be done at a constant rate.

Our team of experts has learned that obtaining high quality IQF mango is a true science which must be treated with true dedication and take our word for it: innovative IQF technology makes this mission possible.


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