Individually quick frozen (IQF) fruits and vegetables are increasingly used in the restaurant trade. Shoppers already purchase IQF vegetables and fruit regularly, including frozen peas, sweetcorn, and strawberries. Now restaurants are becoming aware of the many advantages of this type of raw ingredient for cakes, desserts, baked goods and more.
Here is a quick overview of IQF fruits and vegetables, and what to look for in a frozen vegetable supplier in the UK.
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Definition of IQF
IQF stands for individually quick frozen and it is a method of preserving food when it is at its most fresh. Freezing food has long been an essential method for keeping perishable items edible, especially for times when fresh fruit and vegetables are not readily available. The IQF method takes freezing to a different level, bringing with it many benefits. The process is also known as flash freezing. It has been used in food preparation since the 1920s.
How IQF Works
To individually quick freeze foods, the temperature is set at below 25 degrees F. The process reaches this temperature in a matter of minutes. The procedure for IQF retains the shape and the texture of the fruit and vegetables. It ensures that ice crystals do not form during freezing. When ice crystals form in a food, the food is watery and mushy in texture when it is thawed. The IQF method maintains the integrity of the frozen food.
Health Benefits of IQF Foods
Frozen foods, in general, are usually just as healthy as fresh. They may even be healthier than fresh foods. There is some stigma attached to frozen foods and IQF foods. But frozen foods are always pure. They do not need preservatives to keep them edible. Frozen fruit and vegetables often retain more of the essential nutrients than fresh fruit since they are frozen quickly after being harvested.
What Foods Can Be IQF?
A wide variety of foods benefit from the IQF process. Meat is a good candidate for flash freezing since it can be stored without preservatives. Grains and pasta can be flash-frozen to cut down on preparation time. And fruits and vegetables are easier to use when they are IQF. You can add these IQF fruits and vegetables directly to a dish, without having to thaw. This not only retains the shape and the texture of the fruit but it makes the dish quick to prepare and less messy.
Benefits of IQF Fruit and Vegetables for Restaurants
Using IQF foods means you can always offer a full range of dishes, regardless of the season. If you are committed to buying food from local suppliers, an IQF supplier can offer frozen food from regional producers with full traceability. You don’t need to advertise that you are using frozen food, but customers will notice the difference in the freshness of the taste and the variety of choices.
When looking for IQF vegetable suppliers UK restaurants use, choose companies with a strong reputation in delivering high-quality foods to the catering trade.