An Australian strawberry farm in Queensland has come up with a way to optimize the production of strawberries with a minimum amount of waste, writes Agro-Center.
According to the owners of the strawberry farm Adrian and Amanda Schultz, strawberries spoil fast, and every time after a rain, they collect a lot of berries that must be thrown out because of minor damage that shortens their shelf life. Supermarkets refuse to accept such goods:
“Every year, friends who come for our strawberries are surprised at how much good berries must be thrown out. Therefore, we decided to make strawberry powder or snacks from the berries. We grow strawberries and give the product for freezing and drying to LuvaBerry Strawberry company. After, we turn berries into powder and snacks, pack them and create a super-product,” said Amanda Schultz.
On the farm in Queensland, about 200,000 strawberry plants are grown. The season for fresh strawberries usually begins in May and ends in October. Strawberry powder and snacks have a long shelf life and can be bought during the year.
Lyophilization is a method of soft drying of products. Products are frozen in a vacuum, dried at -80°C. Water is removed from frozen fruits by ice sublimation. During the process, water is converted into steam. The vapor is pumped out by vacuum pumps. For this reason, after lyophilization, the products retain their shape, color, taste, and aroma.
Amanda Schultz noted that strawberry powder and snacks are especially in demand among tourists and athletes:
“It is very problematic to store perishable fresh fruits when traveling, camping or hiking, Our delicious powder and snacks are great alternatives. One tablespoon (25 grams) of powder is equivalent to 250 grams of fresh strawberries. We are pleasantly surprised by the high demand for processed strawberries. At the moment, we are working on packaging and labeling of our products,” said Amanda Schultz.