Native to Europe, Africa and Asia, the gooseberry is grown on small bushes commercially and domestically. Sparingly, the crop can be found in North American thanks to naturalization efforts. The plant’s fruit is generally a bit hairy, though some varieties are grown to be hairless. The bush grows to about five feet high and wide with sharp spines. The berries are generally green, but they also come in yellow, white, red, black and purple.
Gooseberries as an American Crop
Perhaps the main difference between wild and cultivated gooseberries is simply the size. Wild gooseberries are considerably smaller, but very similar in flavor. The small fruit rose to popularity in Europe during the 19th century. Some crops begin with cuttings instead of traditional seed growth, which produces fruit bearing plants in a few years. Seed growth allows produces fruit giving bushes very quickly. During cultivation, farmers must take care to monitor nitrogen levels, as excess will weaken the bush.
Industry Cooling Methods
Fruit cooling methods will vary throughout the industry, but generally, commercial enterprises will use:
- Room cooling – Fruit is housed in an insulated and refrigerated room while slowly cooled.
- Vacuum cooling – In a vacuumed room, produce’s moisture is evaporated resulting in heat loss.
- Hydro cooling – The harvest is submerged or run through chilled water.
- Forced-Air Cooling– Stored in a designated space, the fruit is placed under fans used to circulate cool air.
- Top or liquid Icing – Products are submerged in crushed ice or a water-ice slurry.
Ideal Storage Environment for Gooseberries
As with any fruit, gooseberries have an ideal storage temperature an environment, which ensures maximum freshness and shelf life. Gooseberries perform best when stored at 31 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 95 percent relative humidity. Failure to observe these guidelines could result in chilling damage or decreased product quality. However with proper storage techniques, gooseberries can be expected to have a shelf life ranging from 10 to 21 days.
Ethylene and Storage
Ethylene is a natural hormone produced as certain fruits ripen, which causes ethylene sensitive fruits to ripen too quickly. For this reason, ethylene-producing fruits cannot be stored with ethylene sensitive products. Otherwise, sensitive products may have excessive bitterness, discoloration, russet spotting and accelerated softening. Luckily, there is no evidence to suggest gooseberries are sensitive to ethylene production. This makes them eligible to be stored with bananas, avocados, kiwi and prunes.
Sanitation of Gooseberries
Refrigeration naturally removes moisture from fruit and other products. However, produce must maintain its moisture to retain its overall quality. During storage, water is introduced in the form of sprays, reservoirs and wet floors. With these solutions comes an increased risk for disease and bacteria, leading to the use of chlorine washes for many fruits and other produce. Ozonation is another option, which uses naturally occurring ozone molecules to disinfect. Alternatively, hydrogen peroxide is utilized in small doses.
Semco is thoroughly in tune with the demands of gooseberry farmers and transporters. That’s why we offer industry-leading cooling systems to our clients. Using our expertise and experience, we will guide you through system customization to ensure your needs are met.