Unless they are stored correctly, fruits and vegetables tend to deteriorate quite quickly. For most fresh produce, cold storage is necessary to ensure it reaches the end consumer in perfect condition. Various factors such as origin and age can also be relevant when considering how your fruit and vegetables should be stored.
Key benefits of commercial refrigeration
Immediately after harvesting, fresh produce will start to deteriorate and bacteria can begin to grow. Refrigeration in mini chillers or commercial cold rooms reduces the temperature so that the growth of bacteria and fungi is slowed and the food does not spoil.
Best storage practices
Fruit and vegetables should not be stored together. Ethylene is produced by most fruit as they ripen and this can cause changes in colour, flavour and texture. It can also affect nearby produce causing it to ripen more quickly. This can result in wastage of vegetables that are affected.
Cold storage, whether they are small chillers or commercial cold rooms, should not be overstocked as this can cause temperatures to rise and bacteria to grow. It is important that cool air from the fan can circulate freely.
It is important to know the maturity and produce grading of any fruit and vegetables to be stored so that the best decisions on care and storage can be made.
Optimum storage temperatures
Different fruits and vegetables can need different temperatures but all cold storage units, such as those available at www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/cold-rooms/integrated-cold-rooms can provide a range of temperatures from -40°C to +10°C, so they are ideal for storing fruits and vegetables. Cool season produce usually need to be stored close to 0-2°C whilst tomatoes and cucumbers which ripen in warmer seasons are better stored at 7-10°C. There are variations between many fruits and vegetables, so each has to be assessed separately. On a domestic level, Good Housekeeping advises ripening fruit such as mangoes and apples on a countertop, but always refrigerate berries and citrus fruits.
Different types of cold storage
Refrigerated containers are available in many different sizes and are often portable so they can be used for transporting produce. For stocking and distributing frozen vegetables and fruit, blast freezers are a good solution. A mini version of these is also available. Cold rooms offer a hygienic area for food processing and for the storage of fresh fruit and vegetables.