Simply producing high-quality crops will likely not suffice in making your business thrive in the marketplace. It is essential to maintain the quality of your farm produce until it reaches the final customer. The rapid cooling of products is one of the most convenient and effective ways to keep your produce fresh for a long time.
Benefits of Rapid Cooling
Postharvest cooling of crops, when done correctly, has several benefits like:
- Increasing shelf life of your freshly picked produce
- Softening respiratory activity and suppressing enzymatic degradation
- Slowing down the loss of crop water
- Preventing and slowing down the growth of harmful microorganisms
- Reducing the effects of ethylene on the products that cause them to ripen
Rapid Postharvest cooling has marketing benefits as well that allows growers to sell flexibly at the optimum time. The ability to store farm-fresh produce after it has been rapidly cooled in a Quik-Cool Vacuum or Hydro Cooler prevents the need to sell your product immediately after harvest.
How To Select An Appropriate Cooling Method
There are a number of factors that come into play when you have to choose the best rapid cooling solution for effectively storing your farm-fresh produce. Some of these factors are as follows:
- Nature of the Product – Every crop has a different cooling requirement of its own. For example, broccoli needs low-cooling temperatures while tomatoes need high cooling. Since water is involved, icing and hydro cooling may not be advisable for many products.
- Packaging Requirements – The design of the packaging of the product affects the rate and nature of rapid cooling as well. Choices will vary, depending on the shape of the packaging of products.
- Product Capacity – The rapid cooling of products depends on the quantity and volume of farm-fresh produce. A huge volume of production may need a faster cooling rate and method than a low quantity of produce.
Different Types of Rapid Cooling Systems
There are different types of cooling systems, based on your business needs and budget. Here are the most popular ways of rapid cooling as follows:
COMMON COOLING METHODS
What Is Vacuum Cooling?
The vacuum cooling process works by the rapid evaporation of water from produce under low-pressure situations. During the process energy in the form of heat is required to change water from a liquid to a vapour. This action is the principle of vacuum cooling.
The process of vacuum cooling works in the following way:
A product is placed into a chamber where the pressure is initially equal to the ambient atmospheric pressure approximately 1000 millibar. The pressure in the chamber is reduced causing the boiling point of water (100°c @ approx 1000mb) to change to a lower temperature, thus the water present in the chamber will begin to change state and produce water vapour. For the water in the chamber to change to a vapour it needs energy to perform a latent heat change. This energy is taken from the produce itself therefore removing heat from the produce and cooling the produce.
The video here explains the process:
The vacuum cooling method of cooling is extremely fast reducing cooling times to minutes instead of conventional cooling which can take many hours. This means that food is fresher and lasts longer.
In a Quik-Cool Hydro Cooler chilled water is evenly distributed through the product, the water distribution system is designed according to the produce being cooled.
What is Hydro Vac Cooling?
Operation of the Hydro-Vac cooler is that of a conventional vacuum cooling system with the addition of sprayed water to assist the cooling process. The continuous Hydro effect is performed by consistently pumping water over the produce throughout the whole cycle from beginning to end. This water is disrupted throughout the entire chamber via a sprayer assembly which delivers water to all the produce present in the chamber.
Quik-Cool Hydro-Vac coolers operate over a wide range of produce that includes snow peas, Green Beens, sweetcorn, and Broccoli.
What is Hydro Cooling?
A Hydro Cooler is a system that showers chilled water over the produce. It can either be configured as a batch unit of various sizes or in-line in a processing line. It is not as quick or energy efficient as Vacuum Cooling but is simpler. Only products that can tolerate water are suitable; for example cherries, some fruit and carrots.
What is Forced Air Cooling?
Forced Air cooling is the blowing of chilled air over produce in a sealed chamber or cool room. Forced Air cooling can be installed in a standard cool room or Quik-Cool has specialist self-contained forced air cooling chambers. The amount and temperature of air cooled can be varied to suit the application. Although it is the slowest and least energy efficient rapid cooling method, it has a wide application over many fresh products.
Learning about the different types of rapid cooling methods will make it easier for you to determine the type of cooling systems needed for your produce. Rapid cooling of products will help in increasing the longevity of your products and keeping them fresh for a long period of time for selling at high prices in the market. These different Australian-made cooling systems are highly energy- and cost-efficient.
Let the team at Quik-Cool assist you in this process. Call us on1800 069 515 to discuss your needs, or get a quote today!