Postharvest cooling technology is also known as postharvest handling. It is one of the most beneficial and sustainable methods to preserve food for a longer time span and meets the global food crisis. Postharvest cooling methods include drying, fermenting and other methods based on the crops.
It is a series of techniques that help to preserve agricultural commodities after harvest. It is important for a number of reasons because postharvest methods offer preservation, quality control, conservation and enhancement. Postharvest technology is divided into two series of activities. These are technical and economic activities. Technical activities include harvest, field drying, threshing, cleaning, storage and processing. On the other hand, some of the economic activities include marketing, transporting, quality control, nutrition management, information and communication, administration and extension.
The postharvest system used in postharvest handling has prototypes with longer life cycles, an integrated crop management system and allows swift operations. The goal to use postharvest cooling methods is to ensure farm-fresh appearance, maintenance of superior texture, locking the flavours and keeping the nutritional value of the crops intact for a long time after harvest. This helps to tackle social and economic issues with ease.
Importance of Postharvest System
Postharvest cooling methods help to extend the shelf life of crops, keep them hydrated, preserve nutritional values and maintain the form of the crops after harvest. The importance and benefits of the postharvest system are immense. Let us take a look at the major impact of integrating postharvest technology for agricultural practices:
- Prices – Harvesting of crops like cabbage, young carrots in bunches, new potatoes and green plums early in the season gives farmers and marketers the opportunity to sell these crops for high prices. It is essential to incorporate postharvest cooling methods to keep the crops at their best after harvest. Since postharvest methods prevent bacterial activities and preserve the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables for long, it is easier to capitalize on market conditions due to the good quality of crops.
- Crop Maturity – It is important to identify whether postharvest technology enables long-term crop storage. This could be a great chance to considerably improve farmer incomes and prevent the loss of crops. Samples of different ripeness degrees from postharvest cooling methods play a vital role in assessing different climate and economic conditions and improvising wherever needed.
- Crop Quality – Growers only understand the significance of postharvest handling on the quality of crops when it reaches end-users. Since crops are cut off from their primary source of food and water when harvested, it is easy to identify which process works best to store these crops safely and extend their shelf life effectively. Poor postharvest cooling methods lead to the damage of crops and resultant disputes in the market. Farmers often send fresh and high-quality crops to the market but the end product may be badly affected till it reaches the destination.
- Crop Protection – Postharvest methods like drying and cooling offer protection to root crops like onions and garlic from infection and dehydration. The method is also known to enforce wound healing of crops to improve the storage life of crops like carrots and potatoes.
- Crop Storage – Postharvest technology helps to store field produce for both the long- and short-term. Since horticulture crops are perishable and subject to damage, postharvest methods have come to the aid of harvested crops by extending their lives and maintaining nutritional values alike. However, it is important to note that postharvest storage methods have a number of benefits aside from the regular crop safety measures. It allows growers to sell crops when prices increase. Refrigeration is an important aspect of postharvest technology that requires electricity and is more appropriate for urban areas. It is applicable for products like apples and citrus fruits. Several factors like proper conditions, efficient management and reliable postharvest coolers like hydro coolers and vacuum coolers for smooth cooling and regulation of temperature play a vital role to store crops safely and for longer.
The postharvest cooling methods slow down the decaying process of crops and ensure the highest quality to the end-user. Hydro coolers and vacuum coolers are amazing postharvest technology tools that prolong the shelf-life of crops, keep the crops hydrated, prevent bacterial activities and eliminate tissue damage by water treatment.
Quik-Cool is Australia’s leading postharvest cooling solutions manufacturer. We design vacuum coolers and hydro-coolers to suit local growers’ needs in the Australian subcontinent. Contact us for an OBLIGATION-FREE quotation based on your requirements.