Processed Produce and pre-ripened fruit and vegetables
At wholesale fruit and vegetables we offer two services to our clients regarding processing of fruits and vegetables:
- We can wash, cut and package vegetables and fruit for you to your requirements. Tell us how you want your produce to be prepared and we will make sure it meets your requirements so you don’t have to do the work and can use these products straight from the package. Ideal for restaurants, fast food and any other business that uses cut or chopped fruit and vegetables!
- As we know our regular clients well, and have long standing relationships, we have a good idea of the fruit and vegetables that are required in the near future. As we understand the business of our clients, we know that most businesses need ripe produce that is ready to be consumed. Therefore we pre-order and ripe this produce in our warehouses so it is delivered to our clients in top condition and ready to use! Talk to us to let us know what you are after. There is more information about ripening in general in a special article: Click here to read.
Call us today on (07) 5522 7474 to discuss your requirements!
Below some general information about the processing and preservation of fruit and vegetables:
The system of prolonging the life of foods has been in existence for centuries. Long ago civilizations learned that processed produce enabled foods to be stored for later use when they were out of season and to be able to provide healthy food options all year round.
Agriculture in Developing Countries
In many of the world’s developing countries agriculture is an important element of a country’s economy. It should therefore come as no surprise that agricultural industries and its related activities account for a large percentage of their output. One of these industries is that of fruit and vegetable processing.
Fruit and vegetable processing plants solve a very clear problem in that due to insufficient demand, poor transportation and the perishable nature of crops then the farmer risks losing out through profit losses and a valuable harvest risks being left to rot or fed to his livestock.
The main objective of fruit and vegetable processing is to have a continual supply of safe, wholesome and nutritious foods throughout the year. Only the best quality products can be selected for processing and many foods that are deemed acceptable for the table are not selected for processing.
What Fruit and Vegetables are suitable for processing?
Practically any fruit and vegetable can be processed although there are some important factors to consider which will determine whether or not this process is worthwhile. These factors include:
If there is a demand for a particular food in its processed form
The quality of the raw material and whether it can maintain its quality throughout the procedure of processing
Whether there are sufficient and regular supplies of the raw material.
Examples of this are a particular variety of a quality but delicate fruit that may taste excellent fresh but may not be suitable for processing due to the handling, high temperatures and pressure involved. There are several varieties of tomatoes that are not suitable for making into tomato paste or puree and other processed products. Mangos or pineapples may fail to endure the processing procedure due to irregularities in size, maturity and quality.
Methods used to Preserve Fruit and Vegetables
There are a number of procedures that are suitable for prolonging the life of fruit and vegetables. Freezing, drying, dehydration, sterilisation and irradiation are all suitable for several varieties of both fruit and vegetables.
Concentration, sterilizing filtration and preserving with added sugar are all suitable storage methods for fruit juices while chemical preservation is suitable for semi-processed fruit and preservation with sugar is a suitable method of storing fruit products or preserves.
Preservation by drying or dehydration combined with freezing
In this process fresh fruit and vegetables are dehydrated until the point that their weight has reduced by 50%, at that time they are frozen for long term preservation. The procedure is known as freeze-drying and is a combination of the advantages of drying together with those of freezing. This method enables the vitamins and other mineral properties to remain. A big advantage of this process is the short drying time and the finished product when removed from their frozen for eventual use are of a better quality then products stored by dehydration.
Cold storage of dried or dehydrated vegetables
Some vegetables after being dried or dehydrated can be kept in cold storage for a time period in excess of one year at a temperature of -8C as opposed to the normal frozen temperature required of below -18C. This process of long term cold storage enables vegetables to maintain their levels of vitamin C.
The process used specifically for prunes is to rehydrate the dried product by up to 35% using a hot bath of 2% potassium sorbate. This process is after the initial dehydration process when up to 35% of the moisture is removed using a similar immersion process as described above. This process gives the advantage of a reduced drying time with a minimum level of degradation.
Preservation by concentration
This process in particular is used for products such as tomato paste or puree. The process uses a method that combines evaporation and cold storage during the warm season when water content cannot be reduced below the limit to inhibit moulds and yeasts.
This is a combination of processes that include the acidification of the food together with the use of chemical preservatives.
Preservation by lactic fermentation
This process uses the natural acidification present in some fruit and vegetables so that these foods can then be combined with cold storage where the process of pickling prolongs the safe storage time or shelf life of these products.
Preservation with sugar
Preservation with sugar is a combination of pasteurization of preserves such as fruits made into jam and having sugar content below that of 65%.
There are numerous methods of storage (not mentioned in this article) for prolonging the life of fruit and vegetables and making these products easily accessible all year round. Giving consumers a more balanced and healthy option when these products are out of season.