(Philadelphia, PA, USA)
According to the experts, the single most important step in postharvest care of fresh produce is prompt and proper precooling. (Precooling is defined as reducing the temperature of freshpicked or -packaged perishables down to their ideal storage temperature as quickly as possible. This is also known as blast-cooling or blast-chilling.) Once a product has lost some of its moisture, there is no way to “put it back in.” As we all know, moisture is freshness, and freshness sells.
For a grower, packer, or logistics provider, often the learning curve for forced-air precooling can be steep and difficult. There is no website or book that concentrates only on precooling. “While precooling temperature reduction time can be very difficult to predict,” explains Jim Still of Global Cooling Inc., “there is a science to precooling, that applies to all commodities and all packaging.”
Global Cooling is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of forced-air cooling equipment and controls, pioneering the Jet™ and Rapid-Cool™ precoolers, as well as Smart-Cool™ operating software.
“We decided to put all of our forced-air precooling information in one place,” continued Still, “and make it available for free to the public. An educated customer is our best friend,” he said with a smile.
Jim Thompson, of UC-Davis, is an adviser to Global Cooling, and co-author of “Commercial
Cooling of Fruits, Vegetables, and Flowers”. Dr. Thompson has authored five special reports – which take some of the mystery out of precooling – and these are all available exclusively at Global’s precooling website, www.PreCoolers.net, in the Knowledge Base section.
The report titles include: Temperature and Quality, How to Cool Produce, Tips for Successful Forced-Air Cooling, Product Temperature in Forced-Air Cooling, and Measuring Product Temperature.
The website page also contains a number of other articles about precooling, and more are
slated to be added on an ongoing basis.
“I think that the most important thing to keep in mind about forced-air precooling, for those who are not doing any as of now,” Still concluded, “is that you just need to make a start, and then learn by doing. And they can always come to us with any questions they might have.”