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Ripening rooms play key role in achieving desired color, brix level and taste
“Proper fruit ripening is important as it provides control over fruit uniformity for greater amounts of product,” says John Sydoriak with Advanced Cold Storage International. “Without controlled ripening chambers, fruit would not ripen to the desired color, brix level and taste.” In addition, maintaining a post-ripening cold chain is also key to product shelf-life.
“Fruits that are utilizing ripening chambers are typically unsellable without the use of conditioned ripening,” said Sydoriak. “Only ripening chambers will bring the fruit to the peak of ripeness.” Bananas for instance are dark green, hard to peel and bitter due to the heavy starch content and will break if bent. During conditioning in a ripening chamber, the starches will turn to sugars. As a result, the fruit softens, and the peel will begin to turn the different stage colors of ripeness from one to seven with five being the most desirable marketing color stage. In addition to bananas, mangoes, pears, avocados, tomatoes and melons are other fruit varieties that continue to ripen after harvest.
These so called climacteric fruits go through several major changes in a ripening chamber. the trick is to either speed up or slow down the process and the ability to control the fruit. Providing precise temperature and humidity control are key to the product’s final desired outcome.
Different fruit varieties in same chamber
“Depending on design and refrigeration capabilities, many types of fruits can be ripened in the same chamber,” mentioned Sydoriak. It is a matter of adjusting temperatures and holding times. However, pallet sizes may become an issue for rooms that are built specifically for a certain fruit. Advanced Cold Storage International builds to suit every customer’s needs. “We provide custom ripening solutions depending on facility size constraints and the amount of product to be ripened.” Over the years, the company has built pallet rooms that hold as little at 10 pallets up to rooms that hold 48 pallets and everything in between. Pallet rooms vary from single level, to two-tier and three-tier systems as well as single pallet wide and double pallet wide. It all depends on the height of the building and floor space available. Sydoriak mentioned that after 25 years in the industry, he can safely say that no two projects are ever the same.
If there is a ‘normal’ room, it would hold 20 pallets (960) boxes as that is the amount of fruit in a container load. However, Advanced Cold Storage International has provided rooms up to 2.5 container loads of fruit. In the past two years, the company completed 26 rooms in California. More recently however, interest for ripening rooms has been coming from South America and Mexico, concentrating on bananas and mangoes. “We have also been contacted by parties in Nigeria, Russia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also do continued business in Hong Kong.”
For more information:
Advanced Cold Storage
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