Producing a quality crop takes plenty of hard work, dedication, and commitment. In order to protect and preserve that quality produce, you need to use a cooling method post harvest that will help keep the food fresh. Using the correct cooling method for your crop will not only provide a tastier and more nutritious product for the consumer, it will also help crops to better survive the delivery journey. At Semco, we can design a customized cooling system to fit your specific cooling needs, thus helping to keep crops chilled, preserved, and protected after harvest until they arrive at their final destination.
The Importance of Cooling Produce
Cooling produce quickly after harvest can reduce the field heat that crops experiences while being gathered, and it helps prepare items for storage and shipment. Cooling produce also allows growers to store and then sell their crops at a more marketable time in order for them to get the maximum value for their harvest.
Cooling crops in the appropriate manner helps protect the freshness and integrity of produce by:
- Delaying the growth of molds and bacteria
- Hindering water loss
- Postponing the production of ethylene
Different Produce; Different Cooling Methods
The manner in which a crop is cooled can depend on a variety of factors. Semco understands that different crops require different cooling methods, which is why we design personalized cooling units that fit our customers’ needs. Certain crops need to be cooled very quickly in order to stop the ripening process, while others can be allowed to reach lower temperatures slower. Economic restraints should also taken into account when designing a cooling unit, as some cooling processes will be much more expensive than others. While there are many different cooling methods, this article will focus on room cooling and what produce is best suited for room cooling.
What Is Room Cooling?
Room cooling is a method of bringing the temperature of produce down to an acceptable level by placing it in an insulated room that is cooled with refrigeration units. These units chill the air and keep the room at a consistently cold temperature. Semco room cooling systems are very energy efficient and designed to the highest standards.
The Benefits of Room Cooling
Room cooling is a slower cooling method than other cooling methods, which works well for certain crops that don’t need rapid cooling. Room cooling can also be used to help store produce that has been pre-cooled by another cooling method. When used as storage for pre-cooled crops, smaller refrigeration units can be used to keep crops at the desired temperature.
Best Produce For Room Cooling
Produce well-suited to room cooling include the following:
- Butter Beans & Snap Beans
- Sweet Potatoes
With a room cooling system from Semco, many items that are properly room cooled can last for months, such as apples, topped beets, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and turnips. When produce is stored in cooling rooms, the produce containers should be stacked in order for air to circulate around the packaging. As mentioned above, other crops that have been cooled through rapid cooling methods can also be stored in room cooling units once they have reached the proper storage temperature.
Room Cooling Requirements
While room cooling is effective to help delay the growth of bacteria, slow the ripening process, and reduce water loss, there are other requirements besides temperature that need to be met in order for quality produce to be delivered fresh to consumers.
Maintaining the appropriate humidity levels (from 80-95% humidity) in the cooling rooms will help crops to retain their quality and freshness. The humidity rates should also be closely monitored using a hygrometer to ensure that they stay at optimal levels. Humidity rates that are too high will encourage bacteria growth, which is why sanitation is also very important for such crops. Meanwhile, humidity levels that are too low will dry out the produce.
Whatever your cooling needs may be, we at Semco can manufacture and install a customized system that works for you, your crops, and your budget. Having the right cooling system can help save you money in the long run and allow you to get more out of your harvest.