Top 5 cooling methods for fruit and vegetables

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Top 5 Cooling methods for fruit and Veg

Cooling methods for fruit and vegetables : Around 6.26 million tonne of fruit and vegetables are grown in Australia in each year, roughly 20% of that is for export equating to $2.6 billion dollars to the economy. A CSIRO study found that Australia loses at least an estimate 18-22% of its fruit and vegetable biomass during the production and processing/packing stages also known as ‘post-harvest’. Cooling fruits and vegetables during these crucial stages is paramount to reducing this waste.

The storage life of fresh fruit and vegetables differs with each type, variety and pre-harvest conditions. Regulation of storage life can be managed by monitoring and controlling key factors during post-harvest management. Suitable control of temperature and relative humidity is vital to maximising storage life and quality of each produce.

Temperature is the single main influence in postharvest quality of vegetables. The temperature of produce drives water loss, changes in metabolic activity, loss of flavour, texture and nutrients and the development of rots.

Temperature effects are often divided into three main classes:

  • Low temperature effects
  • Mid-range temperature effects
  • High temperature damage

Each has its own affect on quality such as freezing damage, chilling injury, rots and mould, flavour changes, colour changes, softening, wilting and dehydration. Quality is very much in the eye of the beholder. Different members within a given supply chain will all have different ideas of what constitutes good quality.

Respiration and transpiration are the most important postharvest processes affecting storage life and quality of vegetables.

Postharvest life can be prolonged and quality can be maintained by reducing the rate of respiration and transpiration.

Pre-cooling and storage at low temperatures slow down the physiological and biochemical processes associated with deterioration and decay. Low temperatures also reduce water loss through transpiration and delay the growth of micro-organisms which cause rot. An increase in the temperature of 10°C can increase the rate of deterioration and decay by two to three times.

Here are the Top 5 cooling methods for fruit and vegetables to optimise storage life for fresh produce, along with their relative advantages and disadvantages:

 

room cooling

hydro cooling

ice

forced air cooling

vacuum cooling

 

OTHER PRE-COOLING TIPS:

  • Do not load pre-cooling facility beyond its optimum capacity.
  • When stacking produce, allow adequate air-circulation to ensure all vegetables can be evenly cooled.
  • Use proper receptacles (such as vented boxes and baskets for forced-air cooling, and waxed cartons or Styrofoam boxes for hydro-cooling).
  • Transfer vegetables out from the pre-cooling facility immediately after pre-cooling, to avoid overcooling or dehydration of the vegetables.
  • Use potable water for precoolers to minimise any food safety concerns.
  • Separate ethylene-sensitive vegetables from ethylene producing ones.
  • If a chiller is used for precooling, keep it closed at all times to minimise temperature and relative humidity fluctuations.

For all pre-cooling and post-harvest needs speak to the team at Heuch Fresh.

1300 001 952

info@heuchfresh.com.au

 

Sources:
www.postharvest.net.au
https://www.agriculture.gov.au/
https://www.csiro.au/

 

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Vacuum Cooling explained

Vacuum Cooling explained.

With high demand on farmers to yield higher quality produce that will keep on supermarket shelves for longer periods, growers and distribution centres are looking for the best solutions to reduce wastage and lower operating costs. Vacuum cooling (VC) is a unique way of cooling. Instead of using (forced) cold air or cold water to cool down your produce, with vacuum you use “evaporative energy” for cooling. By reducing the pressure inside the vacuum room, you force (a fraction of) the product’s own moisture to evaporate. This evaporation costs energy, which is taken from the produce in the form of a temperature reduction.

Vacuum cooling

Vacuum cooling process

What sort of fruit and vegetable is suitable for Vacuum Cooling?

VC is a pre-cooling method where the harvest removed field heat by reducing pressure inside a sealed container which evaporates moisture internally from the product. This process takes away energy which warrants rapid cooling, generally within 15 – 30 minutes for most products. VC works best for produce with a “high surface to weight” and that lose water easily such as lettuce and herbs:

Vacuum Cooling examples

Vacuum Cooling different fruits and vegetables

 

Steps to vacuum Cooling:

  1. The product is placed in the vacuum cooler and the chamber is sealed
  2. The Vacuum pump starts working and decreases the air pressure in the chamber. The boiling point is consequently lowered.
  3. The boiling process requires heat, withdrawn from the product, allowing it to cool down.
  4. The Vacuum pump drain water-vapor through the condenser
  5. The cycle is finished, the produce is cooled and the pressure returns to 1000 millibar
  6. The condensed water is discharged and the cooling system is ready for the next load

Is it Expensive?

The fast and uniform cooling (the surface and core of the product reach exact the same temperature after VC) results in a substantially longer shelf life of produce and at the same time, saves on energy costs. The VC process is much more cost effective than other traditional cooling technologies as the output capacity, quick turnaround and energy cost reduction reduce overall operational spending. Many companies also offer rental solutions to appeal to seasonal growers.

 

Where can I get one?

Heuch Fresh offer a range of premium quality solutions for VC and cold chain management, using state-of-the art refrigeration technology and the latest environmentally friendly refrigerants. Together with a world-wide supplier network, they are leading in vacuum cooling technology and are able to supply full cold-chain solutions for cold and hot applications.

https://www.heuchfresh.com.au/vacuum-cooling/

Heuch Fresh | Vacuum Coolers | Vacuum Cooling | Weber Group Australia

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Heuch gets fresh with European designed cooling solutions

This article first appeared on Climate Control News

After noticing a demand for more innovative and advanced pre-cooling and cold storage options for growers and distributors battling the Aussie heat, Heuch managing director, Steve Oakley, created a new subsidiary known as Heuch Fresh – Cold Chain Solutions.

Heuch Fresh Cold Chain Solutions

Oakley said the new division is dedicated to providing cooling solutions with a proven history in European markets to improve product quality, increase produce shelf life, reduce wastage and lower operating costs. 

He said that since 1970 Heuch has been empowering businesses and communities to be self-sufficient and economically sustainable by providing first rate HVACR engineering solutions and programmed maintenance services.

“Our focus is entirely on your business and how we can help provide a solution that covers the complete cold chain cycle from harvest to processing to storage,” he said.

After winning the 2016 HVACR Innovator of the Year Award, Heuch made its entry into the European fresh produce market at Fruit Logistica in Berlin where the company showcased its 100 per cent solar powered refrigeration container solution alongside Dutch company BG door.

This is when the company reached agreements with companies such as Nijssen, Weber, Besseling and Softripe.

“Heuch Fresh are now providing the latest state of the art equipment in pre-cooling, vacuum cooling, controlled atmosphere (CA) and ripening rooms to farmers as well as providers of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs – proof of our success in solar integration and professional servicing,” Oakley said.

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