Advantages of freeze-dried fruits in confectionery products
As discussed above, the freeze drying process is a very gentle process and preserves the natural flavor of the food. In most cases, the starting raw material for freeze drying will be fresh frozen fruits. This allows production of a freeze-dried fruit containing less than 3 percent moisture which will have a very nice fresh flavor present. With confectionery products, one proviso does exist that there must be sufficient moisture present to activate and release the flavor to the taste buds.
Here again, comparable to what was discussed on the fresh flavor, freeze drying preserves the natural color of the fruit. This is an asset to labeling of premium confectionery products in that one can achieve both flavor and color from the natural freeze-dried fruit.
It is well-established that the moisture content of confectionery products must be controlled within prescribed limits to avoid spoilage by fermentation. Use of freeze-dried fruits fits this concept very well. Since the freeze-dried fruit product is less than 3 percent moisture, one merely needs to add sufficient water to allow blending of the material into the formulation. Often times, moisture is only added to the extent that the freeze dry powder is massaged into a plastic consistency before being added to a batch mix.
Often times, when working with fresh or frozen fruits, it is necessary to cook them down to evaporate off some of the moisture. Consequently, a cooked note is developed, but such is not the case with freeze-dried fruits. Since the moisture content is so low and only a small amount of moisture need be added back as described above, it presents both a labor and time saver.The freeze dry product can be stored at ambient conditions.
No single food item or ingredient is the answer to all the problems faced by candy technologists in developing a new piece. So it is with freeze-dried fruits. They have unique advantages and one must seek out the specialized uses for them. Generally due to cost and the nature of these ingredients, they are widely being used in the premium lines of cream centers, fondants and truffles. They fit the bill very nicely here, since they do not make a major moisture contribution and deliver the desired natural flavor and color. Technologists must work out their own recipe, obviously, but a good starting point would be to use the freeze-dried fruit powders in the 3 to 5 percent range.
When one consumes a piece of freeze-dried fruit, the characteristic flavor is not evident until the piece of fruit is chewed and rehydrated with saliva. Moisture is essential to stimulate the taste buds to allow us to perceive flavors. Similarly then, application of freeze-dried fruit items into candies containing extremely low levels of moisture may not be advantageous. Hard candies would be a typical example and, here again, these generally fall into the lower price spectrum as well. It is possible that freeze-dried fruit powders could be used in combination with a compound coating to deliver a unique color and flavor. However, here again, there is little moisture present in a compound coating and it may be necessary for that component to have its flavor released when chewed. Yogurt and fruit are a natural ombination and it should only be a matter of time until somebody capitalizes on this flavor combination in a candy piece. Freeze-dried yogurt is also available.
Advantages of freeze-dried fruits in confectionery products Chemical and microbial concerns Availability of freeze-dreed fruits The freeze drying process
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