Fruit puree retains all of the juice and a large proportion of the fibrous matter naturally found in the fruit. Only excess insoluble fibres are removed. Whilst it is generally the case that seeds or stones are also removed during processing, seeded variants of some purees are available.
Generally, fruit purees are thick, smooth products which have been processed such that the insoluble fibrous parts are broken up so as to be able to fit through a fine sieve. In some cases, the puree is pasteurised to reduce microbiological loading and increase shelf life.
Although processing methods vary between each processing plant and from fruit to fruit, in general the processing begins with the washing and sorting of the fruit to clean it prior to use and remove anything that is not suitable for processing. Once this has taken place the fruit is then milled to a pulp. Where required, an initial coarse sieve may then be used to remove stones or seeds from the product.
Once this has taken place the fruit is placed in an extractor to remove any unwanted fibres, skin particles or remaining seeds, leaving the smooth pulp and juice of the fruit. The puree then undergoes a deaeration process to remove excess air trapped within the puree; this serves to protect the puree during further processing stages, as oxidation triggered by thermal processing can have a detrimental effect on the colour of the puree.
The puree is then generally passed through a further sieve (or multiple stages of sieves) to ensure the final product is sufficiently smooth and homogenous.
If a puree-concentrate is required, the semi-finished puree may then be sent to an evaporator to be concentrated by removing a defined proportion of the water (see Fruit Juice Concentrates page for more details). Fruit purees cannot be concentrated to the same degree as juices, as the extra pulp present makes the material much more viscous than juice and beyond a certain point it will not be able to be pumped through the equipment.
If required, the puree may then be pasteurised using a controlled time/temperature regime to reduce microbiological loading whilst maintaining as much of the colour, flavour and aroma of the fruit as possible.
The puree is then passed through a final filter to ensure that any remaining larger pulp particles or foreign bodies are not transferred to the final packaging.
Technical Manager's note:
The details above are provided as an indicative guide to processing techniques for fruit pureess. Please note that this does vary between different products and sites, and as such this information should not be interpreted as a formal process description or part of a HACCP plan or related food safety system. For specific details regarding individual products, please contact the Cobell technical team who will be happy to assist.