Using large drums of frozen products can be a practical way to receive frozen juices, concentrates, and purees, but they can be difficult to manage. The most difficult, time-consuming, and costly part of the process is that they take a long time to thaw into a pumpable condition. At most plants, food processing companies deal with this problem by leaving drums of material outdoors to thaw or in chillers over the span of a few weeks. These options work but may risk food safety. There is a faster, more efficient, and safer way… and it can be your secret weapon for processing frozen juices, concentrates, and purees.

Three 5-gallon buckets of pumpkin puree

Traditional Methods of Thawing Frozen Juices & Concentrates

The process of thawing purees, NFC juices (Not From Concentrate), orange concentrate, passion fruit concentrate, and other juice concentrates is typically a long process, costing your business time and storage space.

    1. The traditional method of thawing frozen fifty-five-gallon drums of NFC juice, concentrate, and purees is to slowly allow them to come to room temperature, perhaps over several days or weeks. This process is usually the quickest of the two traditional methods but microbial growth becomes a concern.
    2. The other method of thawing is done by letting the drums sit in a refrigerator or chiller in 0-5°C (32-41°F) temperatures over a period of 2-4 weeks. The big issue with these solutions is that processing plants don’t let the product thaw out long enough and the center remains frozen. Alternately, companies let them soften too long, risking spoilage.

If you don’t manage the thawing and tempering processes correctly, you may compromise food safety by encouraging growth of pathogens, or food quality by encouraging spoilage microbes to grow. Microbial growth can also affect product appearance and taste, further compromising your food quality.


Chopper/Blender: Your Secret Weapon for Processing Frozen Product

A Chopper Blender used for processing frozen juices next to images of citrus and a cup of orange juice

Specialized equipment, like the JBT Chopper/Blender, Chopper/Blender SE, or READYGo™ CHOPPER/BLENDER , can quickly reduce processing of frozen juices, concentrates, and purees into a flowable or pumpable condition. This allows the frozen concentrate, single strength juice, or pulp to be processed soon after it is removed from the cold room. Containers of various sizes and shapes, up to and including fifty-five-gallon drums, can be handled by the Chopper/Blender. The following provides processing times for various container sizes:

    • 55-gallon drum of frozen concentrate can be processed in about 2½ minutes.
    • 55-gallons of frozen single strength juice can be crushed in approximately four minutes
    • 5-gallon pail of frozen pulp can be processed in approximately two minutes with this equipment.



A versatile machine that quickly reduces frozen product for further processing

Using a chopper/blender is an affordable way to reduce the space from frozen drums sitting around waiting to defrost, reduces the amount of time it takes from get the product from frozen to a usable state, and reduces electricity cost from product sitting in a refrigerator or chiller. JBT provides both a free-standing chopper/blender and a READYGo skid mounted version that includes all the critical elements needed on a single convenient skid. For smaller and specialty operations, JBT offers a smaller version, the Chopper/Blender SE. Our options allow you to easily adapt and grow your processing capabilities based on your business needs. You can learn more about the JBT Chopper/Blender here and the READYGo™ CHOPPER/BLENDER here.

LEARN MORE about JBT’s Fruit & Vegetable Processing technologies