According to Sana Rehman, marketing coordinator for OctoFrost, sweet corn has attracted the interest of health-conscious consumers looking for nourishing choices, since it is a source of important vitamins and antioxidants. “A major biotechnology business, Bayer, claims that the agriculture industry has simultaneously experienced impressive technical breakthroughs in farming and processing technologies, improving agricultural production and increasing crop yields. The combination of consumer awareness and industry innovation has created new prospects for sweet corn processors to provide outcomes of the highest caliber and satisfy the market's expanding demand. However, following best practices is also essential to achieving these preferred outcomes.”
To produce premium frozen sweet corn, it is equally important to choose premium raw materials and carry out careful pretreatment before freezing, Rehman explains: “The maize that will be processed has to be clean and fresh. It’s essential to pick sweet corn at the proper stage of maturity and properly clean it, to eliminate any dirt or debris in order to guarantee this. When sweet corn is ready to be processed, it goes through a number of critical stages that preserve and prepare it for eating, with blanching standing out as a key step in this process. By lowering biological activity to a minimal level, this procedure inactivates enzymes that may cause nutritional, flavor, and texture losses during storage and further processing, hence assuring product safety.”
The optimum method for handling machine-cut kernels is to utilize water that has been heated using steam injection, Rehman says. “This prevents steam leaks and ensures exact water temperature control. To prevent over-blanching, processors should strive for a temperature with little variation within 0.5°C and complete control over the blanching period. As a consequence, consistent kernels are produced that are suited for various food items, including frozen corn and canned corn.”
The required partial cooking and starch release are accomplished by using a water-based blancher under precisely regulated circumstances. This starch leaching helps provide a cleaner, more transparent look that appeals to particular markets or purchasers. To retain product quality after blanching, cooling right afterwards is essential, Rehman emphasizes: “A key step in this procedure is water cooling using flash impingement rain shower technology. The blanching process is successfully stopped as the food is gently drenched with ice-cold water. With a high yield and superior product quality as a consequence, this helps maintain moisture, natural color, and vitamins.”
The final step in the manufacturing of sweet corn is IQF, or Individually Quick Frozen, freezing, says Rehman. “This final stage is essential for preserving the product's original look, texture, and form. Using fluidization technology, the procedure creates a fluid-like flow in the product while maintaining the sweet corn's original form without inflicting any harm. Additionally, the crust freezing method minimizes product dehydration by quickly freezing the surface, forming a protective shell around the product. Consumers will receive a high-value product since the fluidization and crust freezing ensure that the frozen sweet corn maintains its original quality and flavor.”
Due to its high starch content, which can infiltrate the water system and cause several problems with functioning and food safety, sweet corn is a difficult crop to handle, Rehman acknowledges: “This difficulty makes selecting the appropriate equipment, offered by a supplier with experience in corn processing, essential, as they may assist in addressing or avoiding these difficulties,” she concludes.