Keeping fruits and vegetables at their optimal temperatures is vital for maintaining freshness and nutritional value. Temperatures that are too warm could cause certain types of produce to go bad. Keeping your produce cool with ice cooling is beneficial in many cases. However, not all produce will fare well with ice cooling. Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why ice cooling isn’t always the right choice.
Large Ice Chunks Could Be Problematic
Some types of fruits, such as tomatoes, plums and peaches, have very thin skins that are prone to bruising, bursting and other types of damage. If you choose to use solid ice to keep these types of produce cool, there is a good chance you’ll end up with produce you either have to sell at a discount or can’t sell at all. Still the produce experts emphasize that stone fruits especially have to be stored at temperatures equaling 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are too warm, they will continue to ripen, greatly diminishing their shelf life.
Melting Ice Could Ruin Produce
Some types of produce cannot get wet. Strawberries, blueberries and similar produce items will quickly become soft and decay once they get wet. Lettuce and other leafy vegetables are also prone to problems once they become wet. They will lose their freshness and begin to wilt within a few hours, leading to lost profits because of unusable vegetables. Even if the produce itself would be ok in water, melting ice could damage the packaging. Some fruits are stored in cardboard containers that degrade and fall apart when they become wet, leaving spilled produce as the result.
Ice Cooling Isn’t Always Economically Viable
Block ice is a common way to keep produce cool, but depending on where you are located and on the time of year, it isn’t always readily available. During peak seasons, agricultural areas usually have more demand than supply for block ice. While this type of ice is easy to transport long distances, doing so usually costs much more between the laws of supply and demand and the extra labor and transportation. One alternative is chip or flake ice, but it is only viable if you make your own with a machine such as the ones we sell at Semco or if an ice plant is nearby. This type of ice cannot travel long distances since it melts and refreezes in one large ice chunk.
Ice Requires Enough Laborers
Small businesses simply might not have enough people on hand to work with large amounts of ice. Ice is heavy, and especially when working with large enough chunks or bags to cool large amounts of produce, it is practically impossible for one or two people to move alone. It is also time consuming to ensure the ice is still solid enough to do its job and that produce is at an optimal temperature. A business owner who already has a full plate could need to hire another person just to handle the care of produce.
All in all ice cooling is an excellent method of preserving freshness and quality. However, it is important to understand the limitations and drawbacks of ice cooling and to realize that for some types of produce, ice cooling isn’t necessarily the right choice. Semco manufactures a wide range of cooling systems and whether ice is right for your application or not, we can design a fully customized system that meets your needs.