FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are Barba Stathis vegetables ready for use or do they need to be washed?
Barba Stathis frozen vegetables undergo consecutive washing steps in the production lines. Therefore they do not need to be washed.
If stored in a freezer ***(*) that does not have a thermometer installed, is the ideal temperature for the proper preservation of the products until their expiry date –18°C?
If the freezer is in proper working condition, the standard freezer temperature is adequate for the proper preservation of our products.
How will a consumer be aware , whether a product might contain one or more ingredients consisting of gluten?
In accordance to the European Directives currently in place and their amendments (ΕΕ89/2003, ΕΕ13/2000, ΕΕ 1169/2011, etc.), if an ingredient contains gluten primarily , it must be stated in bold, within brackets in the ingredients section. If it contains gluten at the secondary level, that is, if there is a possibility that the product may have been contaminated, the following must be stated on the packaging: “traces of gluten” or “the product is produced in a facility that processes wheat flour”.
This information is available for each of our products on the corresponding pages of our website.
Are all frozen products equal in quality?
All frozen vegetables are certainly not equal in quality, nor are they all subjected to equally strict quality controls. The selection of the best producers with the most fertile land, the selection of the best varieties, the implementation of contract agriculture based on the principles and values of integrated agricultural management, the best agricultural practices, harvesting at the ideal stage of maturity, the immediate transport of fresh vegetables to the factory for further processing directly after harvesting, the modern machinery and equipment used, and the total number of controls and tests carried out, all ensure the achievement of the primary objective, which is the superior quality and safety of Barba Stathis’ frozen vegetables.
Why are frozen vegetables superior in quality to fresh vegetables?
In fresh vegetables, the basic nutritional quality indicator, vitamin C, decomposes from the second day of harvest onwards, and at the same time all its other properties undergo gradual degradation, especially on the third day. However, when vegetables are frozen, these same properties are maintained intact for two years, provided they are properly preserved in the freezer at a temperature from -15°C to -18°C.
How is quality defined? What is considered to be a good vegetable?
A vegetable’s basic quality index is vitamin C, a nutritional index that decomposes easily and quickly. A good vegetable is one that maintains its properties intact (i.e. flavour, colour, texture, freshness, tenderness, etc.), that is safe in the sense that it is free of physical, chemical and microbial risks, and has followed all those procedures from the field onwards to preserve the nutritional properties it had at the stage of maturity.
Sometimes, when I open a packet of frozen vegetables I find ice in the packet. What should I do?
In supermarket freezers it is likely that the temperature may fluctuate. As a result, the vegetables may undergo minimal initial defrosting followed again by freezing. This does not in any way affect the safety of the product. Only in the event of extensive defrosting is the colour affected, perhaps also the texture, boiling ease and taste of the vegetables. Certain quality indexes are gradually degraded, however the safety of the product remains unaffected.
Why shouldn’t we defrost frozen products before cooking them?
Because this affects their texture and flavour and they do not boil as well. Consequently, defrosting is an unnecessary procedure that not only does not add to the product’s quality, but reduces it. Furthermore, we would like to point out that our frozen vegetables do not need to be washed since they were thoroughly washed and cleaned long before they were frozen.
Why is it important to maintain the cold chain?
When the cold chain steadily remains within the required temperature range (from -15°C to -18°C), then all the quality properties of the vegetable (freshness, flavour, texture, preservation and, mainly, its nutritional value, vitamin C being the basic nutritional index) remain constant and unaltered.
What is the individual quick frozen (IQF) method and why has Barba Stathis chosen this method?
This method involves the quick and immediate freezing of vegetables as well as their automatic freezing, which ensures excellent quality in terms of their nutritional indexes (vitamins, dietary fibres, etc.), flavour, colour, texture and freshness, as well as optimal safety as it prevents any bioburden from developing. All the above quality and safety properties cannot be ensured through domestic slow freezing.
Why is freezing considered a natural process?
If vegetables are frozen appropriately (i.e. industrially and hence instantly), they maintain all their properties intact and can therefore be preserved without adding preservatives and, consequently, chemicals. Given that chemicals are not introduced at any point of the industrial process, this is essentially a natural process. .
Why should we prefer frozen vegetables?
Because the freezer seals in and preserves the original flavour and nutritional value of vegetables. In order to maintain their flavour, freshness, aroma, colour and nutritional value intact, vegetables go through two basic industrial stages that last for only a few minutes:
(a) they are blanched in order to inactivate all those factors that could lead to spoilage;
(b) they are frozen in order for these factors to remain inactive. Therefore, frozen vegetables are equal in quality to the fully matured fresh vegetables from which they are derived.
Does the freezing of fresh vegetables differ from freezing at home?
It is completely different. At home, this procedure is very slow and lasts between 15 and 20 hours, which affects all the vegetables' characteristics (quality, safety, taste, texture, etc.). Industrial freezing, on the other hand, is an immediate process that lasts a few minutes and ensures that all the above qualities are preserved.
Why aren't preservatives necessary in frozen products? How can frozen vegetables be preserved for two years?
The freezer itself serves as the vegetable’s “preservative”, and therefore preservatives are not necessary. Preservation is established by the industrial practices and processes themselves, which are none other than blanching and freezing.