Quality in Frozen Food

pp 275-295

Product Composition and the Quality of Frozen Foods

  • Norman F. Haard

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For the most part, freezing is a very effective way to preserve food-quality indices, namely, color, flavor, nutrient value, and texture. However, freezing and frozen storage of foodstuffs almost always causes physical and chemical changes that lead to some form of quality loss. The extent to which damage occurs depends on several factors including the freezing and storage technology employed, the application of prefreezing treatments, and the nature of the food product. Application of appropriate prefreezing treatments, freezing methods, and storage conditions, as discussed elsewhere in this book, are often effective in minimizing quality deterioration. For example, specific problems that occur in frozen foods, such as gelation of egg yolk, loss of surimi functionality, enzymatic browning of fruit tissue and crustacean meats, and rancidity of plant and animal tissues can be minimized with judicious use of additives or other prefreezing treatments. Freezing damage may be such that the effective frozen storage life of the product is limited, as with the rapid onset of oxidative rancidity in salmonid fishes or the loss of succulent texture during frozen storage of gadoid fishes. In some cases, freezing damage is such that the product is unacceptable. For example, the loss of turgor pressure in raw vegetables like tomato and lettuce yields a flaccid product that would not meet a consumer’s expectation of salad components.