Looking to process fruits and vegetables for purée, yoghurt, soups and sauces without losing flavor, color and valuable vitamin content? Ohmic heating technology from JBT could well be the solution your company needs. Capable of reaching desired temperatures in seconds without damaging product integrity, Ohmic technology saves processing time and protects quality.

For products such as fruit purée in the baby food segment, there is very much a focus not just on safety and packaging, but also on the importance of the baby receiving the necessary nutrients and energy essential for their growth.

An electric heater which uses electricity rather than steam to heat food products, the gentle process integral to JBT’s Sterideal® Ohmic is not only faster than conventional methods, it also helps preserve vitamins, color, flavor and overall integrity.

With many major processors aiming to stop burning fossil fuels by 2050, the Ohmic additionally offers a quick means of helping reach sustainable targets.

According to JBT R&D Manager Antonio Aldini, the slow speed of conventional heaters often negatively impacts the quality of any fruit pieces or purée. “In terms of fruit, conventional heaters are not very fast and so most of the time you overcook the product in order to sterilize it,” he explains. “And if you overcook fruit purée, you lose the color, the flavor and the vitamins.”

Preserving quality and crunchiness

The Sterideal Ohmic (pictured above) is equally effective for pasteurizing fruit pieces – such as peach, pear, bananas or berries – often used in yoghurt preparation. “With a conventional heater it takes a lot of time for the heat to reach the center of the fruit pieces – with the Sterideal, electricity heats everything inside the Ohmic tube extremely quickly,” says Aldini.

In fact, Ohmic heating speed is between 10-20 times higher than conventional. Whereas the conventional heating speed for viscous products – such as fruit preparations – is around 0.5°C per second, Ohmic heats at a rate of 5-7°C per second. “This higher heating speed means a lower ‘cooking’ impact, leading to a fresher-feeling product,” explains Aldini.

“With Ohmic, product quality is visibly improved: dices and particles are better preserved, as is higher ‘crunch’ effect. Color is also better, while products such as fruit puree and fruit particles taste more like fresh fruits.”

Adding integrity

Another major advantage offered by the Sterideal, which is available as an add-on to existing equipment, is its ability to preserve fruit integrity. With conventional heaters, delicate fruit pieces like strawberries are often damaged by internal pumps or long tubes and valves. The short, 1-2m pipes used by the Sterideal help ensure product integrity as it passes through the system.

Given that no cooking processes are used by the Sterideal during pasteurization, the solution also aids preservation of product crunchiness, delivering fruit pieces with bite that more closely resemble their fresh equivalent. 

A further application is Sterideal’s ability to preserve the integrity, nutrients, color and flavor of chopped or whole vegetables in soups, sauces and ready meals. “Any vegetables that are delicate are damaged by overcooking; the Ohmic system preserves their integrity, flavor and other characteristics,” adds Aldini. 

LEARN MORE about the JBT Sterideal Ohmic system