Gilroy Foods and Flavors (GFF) has released a range of ready-to-use vegetables that have less water content than instant quick freeze (IQF) varieties thereby preventing sogginess, the company claims.
GFF, part of ConAgra Foods, would not reveal how its proprietary moisture control technology works, but claimed that it could eliminate 30 to 50 percent of free water in vegetables.
Senior food technologist at GFF Dan Hemming told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “The end result is a product that significantly reduces weeping in application.”
He added that controlled moisture vegetables “have higher vegetable solids and less water per pound giving customers more product overall and a better value.” However, he did not specify how they compare in price to IQF or frozen vegetables.
GFF said it has applied the new technology to spinach, which is provided to manufacturers in quick-flow frozen dice format, making it easy to measure. It claims that IQF spinach can weep up to 13 percent, but that its moisture controlled version has “virtually no water seepage”.
At the same time, GFF has released controlled moisture ‘kitchen cuts’, a range of roughly chopped red and yellow onions and red and green peppers in various combinations, which are intended to give a rustic look to prepared dishes.
“CM Vegetables work in a variety of applications but their benefits really shine in applications where sogginess may have previously been a concern, including sandwiches, egg dishes, pizzas and wraps,” Hemming said.
Following high profile cases of salmonella in spinach during 2006 and 2007, GFF is also emphasizing the safety of its controlled moisture vegetables. Its spinach, peppers and onions undergo a validated kill step – pasteurization – to ensure that they are safe to eat without manufacturers having to heat, cook, or otherwise prepare the vegetables before using them in their formulations.
Hemming added that the vegetables undergo testing for listeria, salmonella, E. coli, yeast, mold, standard plate count and total coliform, “so they truly eliminate any food safety concerns.”