Quality candied fruits allows you to gain advantage over the market, being a product that achieves the most demanding technical requirements of control and has the preference of the customers. It’s in your best interest that you should know about the difference between quality and non-quality candied fruit.
Let’s start by knowing the raw material used to elaborate candied fruit and how is the preservation made. Candied fruits is elaborated not only from fruits, but also from vegetables that, because of their consistency, are perfect for this use. Cherry, apple, pear, peach, pineapple, plum, melon, fig, orange, tangerine, apricot and papaya are some of the fruits that can be candied. But also, pumpkin, turnip, carrot… You can also use the peel from some fruits, like the lemon, orange or even watermelon.
The process used to elaborate quality candied fruits is a technique of preservation as simply as ancient: sugar. (You can read more about the origin of candied fruits right now in this interesting post in our blog).
Sugar keeps fungus and bacteria from growing by killing them of thirst (you can also read here about Degrees Brix, osmosis process and the importance of a standard in the sugar condensation).
Quality candied fruits control
Quality candied fruits control measures several values related to the organoleptic characteristics, the fruit composition and the hygienic conditions (microbiologic).
Characteristics of quality candied fruits.
Let’s see which are the essential requirements that quality candied fruits have to accomplish to be considered as such:
- Brilliant, uniform and transparent colours.
- Sweet flavour and smell.
- Firm texture holding the fruit, but soft in the mouth, with a characteristic “crunch”.
- Sugar condensation between 65- 75 Degrees Brix, depending on specifications.
- pH from 3,5 to 4,0.
- Maximum humidity between 20-35%, depending on specifications.
- Bacteria, mould or yeast absence.
How is made the evaluation of quality candied fruit
As it is easy to deduct, these criteria are evaluated in two ways:
✅ Sensorial test
This evaluation always precedes the technique, and it consists in examining through the senses a series of characteristics of candied fruit related to colour, smell, texture, flavour and general appearance of candied fruit.
✅ Technique test
Technique valuation, that evaluates the fruit composition and its hygienic conditions, is the following step, and it is made with a series of laboratory tools and equipment. For example, a refractometer is used to measure the sugar condensation and a pH meter to measure the pH or acidity degree.
- Refractometer. It is a relatively simple equipment, that allows to make a measurement of the refraction of the light in the fruit juice. The bigger the sugar quantity, the angle of refraction also throws a major result. Field refractometers are used for measure Degrees Brix of the fruit in the crops, simply squeezing it by hand on a small screen, and also exist laboratory equipment. In this case, a small amount of candied fruit is placed in a mortar and then it is mixed with the same amount of distillate water until we get a homogenous mass. Having extracted a small sample and placing it in the prism of the refractometer, we obtain a reading that multiplies for two, and that gives us the exact Degrees Brix.
- pH meter. It is a laboratory tool that serves to measure the alkalinity of the watery solutions. For the measurement, we can use the same mixture used to quantify Degrees Brix, but diluting it again in distillate water until the pH meter bulb is covered, with a maximum of 9 times the sample amount. Then we move the mixture and make the reading.
- Infrared heaters and lamps. They are able to measure the humidity degree of candied fruit.
- At the laboratory, with very specific equipment, they carry out the pathogenic germ control.
If knowing the characteristics of quality candied fruit is not enough for you to distinguish it from a bad one, maybe you are interested in how is the last showed…
Irregularities that shows bad quality candied fruit
- Too much sugar: candied fruit is surrounded by little fruit crystals.
- Sticky texture: It leaks syrup and colour the products that get in contact.
- Mould presence: it smells humid and shows white, black or green stains.
- Fermentation: it tastes and smells of alcohol.
As you can see, we gave you all the factors to distinguish quality candied fruits, not only from the technique view but also from the simply sensorial perception. We understand that if you have a patisserie, a restaurant or a catering service, you don’t have at your disposal laboratory equipment, but with the criteria we give about organoleptic characteristics, you will be able to differentiate one quality from another so you get what you payed for.
Our advice as experts in quality candied fruits
¿Our advice? Always choosing quality candied fruits, proceeding from factories that accomplish all the hygienic requirements, with the guarantee of having the most prestigious international food certifications. Is the case of Lazaya, that also has an I+D department where we elaborate tests and analysis to obtain the best products and the ones that best adjust to each application, maintaining a high-quality standard. If you look after your business and are looking for quality candied fruits, you can consult us your concerns. We are here to help.