Herbs such as mint, coriander, sage, basil, lemon grass and rosemary have been marginal imported products for many years, but the rapid increase of demand and cultivation have turned this products into a real trend on the market.
The demand for herbs is steady but it has been growing gradually in the last 30 years, while the last 2 to 3 years have shown a rapid request on the market in particular for organically grown herbs. Mint, coriander, rosemary, and sage seem to be the herbal stars, with a year-round increase in demand. Usually herbs are preserved by drying but in order to maintain the freshness and full qualities of the plants, individually quick freezing (IQF) technique has been gaining ground. In order to achieve good quality IQF herbs, processors need to keep in mind that a high standard processing equipment is the solution, since freezing herbs can be quite challenging due to the risk of product overblow.
First things first
After harvesting the herbs, they need to be washed and only then individually quick frozen. Usually, herbs are transported in containers full of water, which are then drained with the help of a pumping system that will bring the products in 3 consecutive cleaning baths. In order to lock-in the color, flavor and nutrients it is recommended to IQF freeze the products within hours after harvest.
Choosing the right IQF equipment
Herbs processors find it challenging to IQF freeze these products because the light nature of herbs put them at a considerable risk of overblow outside the freezing zone. This will mean a poor quality frozen result and a lot of product loss. The OctoFrost™ IQF tunnel freezer shows remarkable results even when freezing IQF herbs due to the fans with adjustable speed and the optimal aerodynamics inside the freezer. OctoFrost™ has several freezing zones which combined with the adjustable speed of fans creates the right aerodynamics inside the tunnel and make the product act like a fluid. By acting like a fluid, the product is completely fluidized, quick frozen, and maintains perfect separation. The industry was used with block formation freezing but that is no longer the case with OctoFrost.
That extra value
OctoFrost™ is an innovative IQF tunnel freezer with numerous technological features that translate into a freezing result with natural appearance, perfect separation and higher yield. In addition to all of this, the freezer is the most energy efficient IQF tunnel on the market and provides the best food safety. In the case of IQF herbs, the OctoFrost™ fans only need to run at 30% out of the total capacity, which explains why the products won’t be overblown. This doesn’t only mean that the product will stay in the freezing zone during the entire freezing process, but it also means that the energy consumption and efficiency will be considerable for IQF herb processors. OctoFrost team has extensive experience in freezing difficult, sensitive or pretentious products and we are constantly working towards helping the food industry grow and meet the high standards of today’s consumer.