Kerry Hughes, Contributing Editor,

If more people had access to fresh fruits and vegetables, they might be more apt to meet the USDA’s daily fruit and vegetable recommendation of consuming 7-9 servings. Canned fruits and vegetables may not be as appealing, and they are often high in salt or lower in nutrients.

What gives fresh vegetables and fruits their characteristic crunchy or juicy texture? It is the water content. Fresh vegetables are 80% water, but high water content also means vegetables are highly perishable--thus, strategies are employed to preserve and ship vegetables in prepared foods, such as canning, freezing, traditional air-drying and freeze-drying.

Graceland Fruit Inc., a vegetable and fruit processing company in operation since 1973, has developed innovative new categories of processed fruits and vegetables as ready-to-use ingredients. With the development of several new technologies, they claim to offer fruits and vegetables poised to revolutionize the category’s food preparation technology.

For example, Graceland’s Infused Dried Vegetables are high solids containing dried vegetables produced by a patented process using the concept of infusion technology. Here, the initial moisture of vegetables can be partially replaced and/or bound to soluble solids prior to drying by predetermined moisture contents from natural infusion solutions, such as vegetable juice, tapioca, rice or corn syrup. The resulting products offer multiple benefits, including softer texture, and a fresher color and flavor. They are also microbiologically safe and shelf-stable for over a year without refrigeration, all without the use of sulfites or other preservatives. Graceland’s Infused Dried Fruit line includes apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and tropical and seasonal offerings. Included in the Infused Dried Vegetable line are broccoli (florets), carrots (cubed), celery (sliced), sweet corn (whole kernel), green peas (whole), green peppers (diced) and red peppers (diced). These ingredients can be used in applications such as trail mixes, bakery products, boxed meals, stuffings, rice mixes, soups, etc.

Another new processing technology produces Fridg-N-Fresh® vegetables--refrigerator-stable vegetables with a 90-day shelflife that add a home-cooked quality to recipes. Vegetables produced through this proprietary process have the benefit of remaining low-calorie, yet retaining the natural color, texture and flavor of fresh vegetables. Products options include bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, sweet corn, green peas, potatoes, tomatoes and more.

Soft-N-Frozen™ is another innovation by Graceland Fruit, producing frozen fruit that is soft to the bite and claimed to be bursting with natural flavor. This technology brings soft-to-bite frozen fruit to applications such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen dairy and non-dairy products.

According to Don Nugent, president and CEO of Graceland Fruit, “We have fostered relationships with quality growers to provide consumers the best products possible. As we have also added a new dryer to our facility and expanded our capacity, we are able to assure reliable volumes of infused fruit and vegetable ingredients from field to consumer with over 45 delicious fruit and vegetable ingredients.”  pf

 -- Kerry Hughes, Technical Field Editor

For more information:
Graceland Fruit Inc. • Frankfort, Mich.
Brent Bradley • 231-352-7181 • 800-352-7181 •