Many foods are perceived to be gourmet when grilled or roasted vegetables are added.
Imagine a plain spaghetti sauce. Now imagine it with the aromatic flavor of sautéed onions and peppers, accented by roasted garlic and tomatoes. These vegetable components add flavor and visual appeal to create upscale, unique and exciting foods.

Long known for their grilled, sautéed, and fire roasted products, Jon-Lin Frozen Foods, Colton, Calif., recently introduced a new line of Smokehouse Roasted vegetables and fruits. The new line combines the convenience of frozen food products with the succulence, flavor depth and appearance of fresh roasted fruits, vegetables and seasonings. “The people that are most intrigued with our products have been chefs, who embrace the possibilities that our value-added vegetables and fruits offer,” states Sanah Boisvert, national accounts manager for the East Coast.

The fresh produce is lightly coated with extra virgin olive oil, which helps trap the smoked flavor notes. The products then are roasted slowly over an open flame to develop an intense, all-natural flavor profile with signature grill marks.

In applications that require a milder roasted flavor, Jon-Lin offers its Fire Roasted line of vegetables and fruits, which are roasted at a high temperature for a short time. The Fire Roasted products have a lighter flavor profile and also carry the signature grill marks.

A third option exists with Jon-Lin's Sautéed and Grilled products, which are slow-cooked at low temperatures. The Sautéed vegetables are caramelized in oil. The Grilled vegetables are naturally caramelized with no oil added. In spite of the “grilled” nomenclature, neither of these slow-cooked products have grill marks.

Boisvert notes the application of roasted products has become more sophisticated. Traditionally, the products were used as components in main dishes or presented as side dishes but, increasingly, are being utilized as flavor modifiers. For example, roasted corn can be used as a side dish, but also can be incorporated into salsas, soups or salads, to provide added flavor and texture. The most popular items have been grilled onions, smokehouse roasted onions, fire roasted peppers, fire roasted chilies, fire roasted corn, fire roasted pineapple and smokehouse roasted apples.

New Capabilities

The desire to help customers offer unique products prompted the company to build a new plant and blending operation in Colton, Calif. The plant has increased fire roasting capacity, as well as provided the ability to custom blend up to six components together. For example, Jon-Lin can make a fajita blend of roasted onions and pepper strips with Mexican seasoning. Or, six smokehouse-roasted vegetables can be blended together and seasoned for use in a custom-blended pasta sauce. Additionally, the plant has a ready-to-eat status which means a customer can safely heat product to serving temperature.

A new certified master chef (CMC) helps customers see what finished applications might taste and look like. He is available to offer suggestions and helps teach customers' corporate chefs how to best work with the products. “Some customers have replaced onion and garlic powder with sautéed minced onion and garlic, to get a cleaner, fresher flavor. They found they could do it and remain cost competitive—while product quality was dramatically improved,” explains Boisvert.

Another new service is custom packaging. Besides standard case packaging, product can be packaged in a range of sizes from totes to 2-pound bags. The newest version is a 4oz.-pouch being used as part of a meal kit—the roasted vegetables are a component the consumer throws into a skillet to heat up.

For more information:
Sanah Boisvert or Nicole Bangou at 909-825-8542
Jon-Lin Inc. Write in 203