To keep fruit and vegetables in good condition so that they are not harmful to health, it is very important to subject them to a preservation process. Within these processes, industrial refrigeration is the safest procedure as it reduces losses, delays ripening and senescence, thus prolonging the shelf life of perishable foods.
Some small restaurants that don’t have space or budget to have a cold storage facility have refrigerators that serve them to store both vegetables and meats independently. So in this topic, the tips for cold storage will be both for industrial and normal refrigerator storage.
Fruit and vegetables can be damaged if they spend more time than necessary in the refrigerator or if the temperature inside is too low.
How long do cooked vegetables last in the refrigerator?
Cooked vegetables can usually be kept for 3 to 4 days, but be aware that some of them take on a corky texture, like potatoes.
How do you store vegetables in the refrigerator to make them last?
Keep them in the fridge without the sprouts and leaves. You don’t need to put them in plastic bags. Keep them in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag. Keep them in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag, and away from the fruits to avoid deterioration.
Many factors are involved in the process of preserving vegetables and fruit: the type of fruit, the route, and the preservation techniques.
To know how to preserve fruit and vegetables it is important to know the types. There are two types of fruit in terms of conservation, ripening properties and active metabolism:
• Non-climacteric fruits (pineapple, grape, strawberry, citrus, pepper, aubergine, zucchini), which are characterized by having a single point of ripeness, that is, they must be harvested just before consumption because if they are harvested green they do not continue to ripen.
• Climatic fruits (apple, pear, plum, banana, kiwi, tomato, peach,) characteristic for having two points of ripeness, that is, they continue to ripen after being harvested.
In the last ones, if they are left to ripen on the tree, there is a loss of flavor and nutrients, that’s why harvesting them before they are ripe makes them better for consumption.
In order to activate its maturity once harvested, climacteric fruits need cold. In addition, the time that they can be in cold is very different according to the varieties. This is due to the breathing of the fruit.
For this reason, each fruit requires specific temperature and humidity conditions for its conservation. Faced with this situation, the most common is to resort to cold storage for fruit and vegetables.
Conservation according to fruits and vegetables
The cold stores regulate the breathing of the fruit and reduce it to extend its useful life by means of carbon dioxide purifiers, humidifiers, catalysts, in addition to preventing the attack of microorganisms.
The refrigeration of fruit and vegetables is carried out in controlled atmosphere cold stores using ecological refrigerants such as CO2, ammonia, glycol.
Refrigeration of garlic and onions
The perfect condition for the conservation of garlic is -3ºC and up to 1ºC in onions with a humidity of 70%. In addition, correct air circulation throughout the refrigeration chamber is important to prevent the accumulation of humidity.
In the case of onions, before being cooled they must go through a drying process and be stored in wooden pallets.
Refrigeration of potatoes
The potatoes must be stored in cold stores for 3-10 months at temperatures around 5ºC and a humidity level above 90% to avoid water loss and wrinkling.
Refrigeration of fruits and vegetables
The refrigeration of fruits and vegetables is a very important part of the refrigeration industry as they are very perishable foods. In order to preserve their nutritional efficiency, it is essential to have a correct refrigeration installation.
Due to their breathing and metabolic changes, it is necessary to have a correct air renewal inside the cold room.
The conservation temperature varies greatly depending on the variety but, in general terms, it must be close to freezing temperatures but cannot be less than 0ºC. The ideal is between 13ºC and 1ºC.
As for humidity, it should be between 85 and 90%.
Therefore, for correct conservation of fruits and vegetables, it is necessary to know and control the characteristics of the different varieties and to have a correct refrigerating installation.
The most important factors are the existence of low temperatures, high relative humidity and proper ventilation to achieve proper ripening and not lose all the nutrients that these foods provide.