The pineapple is a delicious and versatile fruit. It can be eaten for enjoyment as well as medical purposes and its leaves can be converted for different uses. Its fresh, ripe taste has helped it to spread across the world, though it is primarily grown in its native region. With its specific ripening qualities, proper cooling and storage are critical to maintaining the fruit. Take a look at some general facts about pineapples and effective cooling and storing methods.
General Facts About Pineapples
Pineapples are tropical fruits that originated from South America and are currently mass produced in different areas, including Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and Costa Rica. Within the United States, Hawaii is known for producing a smaller hybrid version of the fruit. They were originally given the name “pineapple” in 1398 due to their resemblance to the pine cone. They take a while to flower naturally, between twenty to twenty-four months, however a few different methods have been implemented over the years to speed up the process. One differentiating factor about this fruit is that they do not ripen after they are harvested. This makes proper cooling and storing methods crucial.
Pineapples are commonly used in various cooking recipes. They may be cut and eaten fresh, as well as crushed, preserved, juiced or used as a garnish. There versatility and delicious flavor make them a popular ingredient for all styles of food, be it South American, Asian or American cuisine. In addition to the fruit, its durable leaves are also quite versatile. These leaves can be formed into a textile for use in different furnishings, such as wallpaper, as well fashioned into a fabric for use in clothing. Pineapples may also be applied topically as an anti-inflammatory or ingested as an antihelminthic.
Information About Cooling and Storing Pineapples
Unlike many other types of fruit, pineapples ripeness peaks upon harvesting. To ensure that they have a nice yellow center, one week before harvest time the fruits are usually sprayed with a growth inducing chemical that converts into a regulator that encourages ripening of fruit. Therefore, they are quite perishable. At room temperature they are only good for up to two days, while when refrigerated they can last for five to seven days.
Shelf Life – Unless canned, frozen or preserved, pineapples do not have a long shelf life at all. When frozen this fruit can last up to five months, and it can last for one to two years when canned or preserved.
Temperature – With such a short shelf life it is most beneficial to frigate the fruit. To extend the expected life of the plant it should be stored at a temperature of thirty-two degrees. This helps to slow down the aging process, which begins as soon as the fruit is collected.
Relative Humidity – Being that pineapples are tropical fruit they are indigenous to humid climates and must therefore be maintained in a high relative humidity. Pineapples should be kept at a relative humidity of ninety to ninety-five percent.
Methods of Cooling Pineapples
Ideally, pineapples should first be cooled down to forty degrees before they are cooled to storage temperature. If the process is completed too quickly it can actually damage the fruit. There are a couple of effective cooling methods that can be utilized to get the fruit to proper storage temperature without compromising the sweet ripeness of the pineapples.
Forced-Air Cooling – This process is a great option for cooling the fruit to storage temperatures after it has been cooled down initially. For this cooling method the pineapples are placed in a refrigerated room, such as a deep freezer, and are arranged around a fan. The fan helps to circulate the cool air through the fruit, speeding up the freezing process.
Hydrocooling – This method is usually utilized before forced-air cooling is applied. It helps to cool off the fruit quickly without causing damage. To accomplish this, the fruit is submerged in near-freezing water.
Semco prides itself as a leader amongst cooling and storage system providers. We strive to not only supply superior systems, but to work effectively with clients to develop tailored systems to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Our extensive experience, high quality equipment and commitment to positive client relations speak volumes to those factors. We would love to work one-on-one with you to create the perfect cooling and storing system to support your pineapple distribution process.