How pre-cooling systems deliver defense against post-harvest loss

By |2017-09-28T07:28:11+00:00September 6th, 2017|

InspiraFarms offers cool solutions for any budget.

Any cook knows that sudden temperature changes can impact the quality of food. Whether you’re defrosting meat, cooking with dairy or preparing vegetables, managing relative temperature and humidity is key to maintaining quality and flavour. And as in cooking, a calculated approach to post-harvest cooling can slow senescence and protect the value of produce.

To maximize the effect of cooling and reduce risks to shelf life, fresh produce should be brought to the optimum temperature as quickly as possible after harvest. Pre-cooling reduces the field heat, which is detrimental to the quality of fruits and vegetables, and slows ripening. Prompt pre-cooling conserves the weight and extends the storage life of fruits and vegetables. Precooling must be combined with a cold chain, meaning the produce is transferred to storage at the optimum temperature directly after precooling.

Produce can be pre-cooled in a number of ways, and InspiraFarms offers a variety of solutions:

Shades

Immediately protecting the harvest from the temperature of the field is essential to preserving its shelf life. This can be achieved easily by moving produce to the shade. InspiraFarms offers tent and tunnel shades made from heavy duty galvanized steel and net. The tent shade provides 80% shading, and is suitable for small volumes up to 30m2, while the tunnel shade provides 96% shade and is suitable for volumes up to 108m2.

 

Forced Air Cooling

Refrigerated air can be used for pre-cooling packed fruit and vegetables. Pre-cooling with air can be accomplished with a conventional cold storage room, a special pre-cooling room, a funnel cooler, or a forced air cooler. Cooling with air can require more time than cooling with water, and requires placing the produce in well ventilated containers, covering them with canvas and forcing cool air through. InspiraFarms Forced Air system is ideal for produce that does not need or cannot to be washed, it maximizes the impact on palletized goods and it requires ventilated crates or carton to increase the specific surface of the produce in contact with the cold air and the speed of exchange.

InspiraFarms InspiraCool cooling machine combines the features and capabilities of pre-cooling rooms, nebulizers and humidifiers, ethylene reducers and traditional cooling machines.

InspiraCool uses a wet cooling system that produces water-saturated cold air to establish a constant temperature and high relative humidity. Iced water is exchanged in an air treatment unit and distributed through flexible ducts. High speed forced air fans bring the warm cold storage air back into the unit, through special filters that capture air impurities. The air is then humidified air cooled down to 0.5°C. A filtration and sanitation system reduces greatly bacteria, fungi and impurities, while dramatically reducing ethylene content in the internal atmosphere.

Used in conjunction with InspiraFarms’ prefabricated galvanised steel panel systems, InspiraCool offers a clean, efficient means of doubling the shelf life of produce, with low installation and maintenance costs.

Hydro Cooling

InspiraFarms Milk instant chillers can be used as well to generate a large quantity of iced water that can be used, in combination with a produce washing machine, to quickly bring down produce temperature. This system uses water and therefore is optimal for areas with good water availability and the possibility of having InspiraFarms processing spaces, beyond cold storage. The hydro cooling system should be combined with a water purification system to ensure maximum safety of the operation. Water is partially recirculated. Daily volumes of used water depend on produce entry conditions (i.e.: dirt) and type of produce (i.e.: inflorescence vs whole fruit).

Pre-cooling Tips

  • Load the pre-cooling facility at or below 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 pre-cooling
  • Use potable water for pre-coolers to minimise any food safety concerns
  • Separate ethylene-sensitive vegetables from ethylene producing ones
  • If a chiller is used for pre-cooling, keep it closed at all times to minimise temperature and relative humidity fluctuations