Lemon, orange, grapefruit, pomelo… a variety of citrus skins contain rich aromas, which can serve different functions such as flavoring drinks, seasoning food, or making fragrances. Each usage requires its own way of peeling. The Japanese fruit peeler innovator, Astra recently introduced its newly developed ‘citrus-friendly model’.
While not damaging the fruit flesh, the fruit skins can be peeled in any form that the user requires. In the words of the company sales manager, Ryo Takeshita: “Our goal is to make maximum use of the full potential of the citrus.”
Same orange, different peelings
Peel surface only (flavedo) Video 00:00
The top surface of an orange skin is needed in large quantities in the catering sector such as bakeries, cake shops, and juice bars when making drinks such as limoncello. According to Ryo, "In such circumstances, the traditional type of ‘round peeler’ is usually used in business. However, this type of peeler is not good at adjusting the depth of peeling. The deeper you peel, the wider you peel. This means if you wish to peel only the surface, the peeling width will be very narrow and will consume more time, and the yield rate will be lowered. To solve this problem, a ‘blade peeler’ can provide a perfect solution."
"Our peeler shares similarities with manual peeling. The blade is straight, sharp, and thin. When turning, the blade moves in a polygonal way, while it is always tightly pressed to the surface of the fruit." Ryo explained.
Peel whole skin (flavedo and albedo) Video 00:08
Fruit flesh is needed in the jam processing factory and fresh-cut business. To avoid a bitter taste, there cannot be any pith left on the fruit. Even in this day and age of technology, peeling by hand is almost standard throughout these industries.
"When evaluating the performance and accuracy of peeling fruit, hand peeling requires more effort and is more meticulous when compared to the Astra peeler. Hand-peeled fruits often lose their round shape and end up looking like hexagons or bricks with a rough uneven surface." Ryo said, "With the Astra peeler, citrus fruit maintains their shape and freshness longer because of the way our peeler handles the fruit."
Make fresh zest (chiffonade) Video 00:22
The zester attachment such as Z blade is used often for making zesting. "We saw a need for micro zested citrus in chiffonade strips, as these strips are widely used in bakeries, liqueurs, and garnishing." Ryo said, "Our Z blade is equipped with a cross cut set of blades that cuts the fruit in a tight, pith free, strip that will consistently impress, which provides a good solution for Microzest or chiffonade citrus strips."
According to Ryo, "Bars often peel a small section of fruit and leave the rest to dry out or be wasted. In these circumstances, using the Astra peeler instead of a hand peeler not only improve the yield, but also save time and labor cost. as our automatic peeler can zest three times faster than a traditional hand peeler."
Peeling results from Astra peeler
‘Depth adjustable’ is the key
When asked about the uniqueness of this ‘citrus-friendly model’ compared with other models, Ryo said, “Blade quality and peeling movement are the two most important factors that define a ‘good peeler’. Not only the physical design, such as length, width, and shape of the peeler, but the material also plays an important role. To obtain the best blade quality, we used the top material for the blade for the peeler, and the metal used for some blades can only be produced in Japan. Besides, in order to have a superior peeling movement, we performed countless tests on the blade moving route, peeling angle, and rotation speed control. So, peeling seems a simple performance, but all these elements need to be balanced and interact with each other.”
Though the principle behind the peeler is quite complicated, the machine itself is designed in a very user-friendly way. “The machine is pre-programmed, all users need to do is attach the fruit to the peeler, choose a program, and press start. The peeling speed can be up to 400 pieces/hour (≈9 seconds/piece). With an adjustable peeling depth, the blade can handle fruit skin from ‘paper-thin’ till ‘cardboard-thick’.” Ryo introduced.
“Most peelers in the market require 2 fixing points, meaning both the top and bottom of the fruits are held by the peeler. One remarkable thing about our peeler is that only 1 side is needed to be attached to the machine. Less damage to the surface of the fruit results in fewer drippings and the fruit remains more complete.”
The peeling depth can be adjusted accordingly
Beyond Orange - Citrus friendly peeler
Besides oranges, Astra citrus peeler serves a wide variety of citrus from green lime to pomelo (2.5 diameter- 20 diameter). When asked about the working principles, Ryo said, “The adjustable peeling depth makes the machine different from all other types. When dealing with small-size fruits, the limited peelable surface increases the jamming and drippings possibilities. When using the peeler, no matter how small the fruit is, you only need to put it onto the peeler, and let the machine do the work.”
For larger-size fruits such as the pomelo, which has a barrel shape, it is quite difficult to make the fruit skin completely clean and tidy. The Astra peeler blade is tightly pressed on the fruit surface, and as a result the waste rate can be 20% lower compared with a traditional round-type peeler.
Astra peeler can be used for multiple types of fruits
"Over the past 20 years, we have been fully dedicated to automatic peeler innovation. Our peelers are certified with CE and NSF markings and are used in over 20 countries, among fresh-cut fruit factories, dried fruit factories, in-flight meals, hospitals, schools, juice bars, luxury cruise ships and restaurants." Ryo said. As Astra Inc. expects booming opportunities in the overseas markets, the company is now looking for distributors of industrial fruit processing machines in many areas.