Hydro cooling Process and General Information
Hydro cooling is used to rapidly cool produce to proper storage temperatures. The hydro cooling process allows the extension of shelf life, and preserves the quality of the produce. Without pre-cooling many fruits and vegetables, wound not be available in the quality and quantity we see at grocery stores. Pre-cooling, the process of quickly cooling produce from field heat lowers the temperature about 7/8. From the time produce is harvested to the storing stage, the produce is usually cooled by 88% of the original temperature. Pre-cooling can occur in few different ways these are batch cooling, immersion cooling, truck cooling, and continuous cooling. Each of these provide different options of cooling. Hydro cooling uses water as the coolant. The produce is submerged, or drenched in ice water. The ice water’s temperature is 32°F. Low levels of chlorine are used to disinfect the water providing additional sanitation. Cleaning is an essential part of the produce distribution process. The chlorine water prevents disease from spreading in the storage facility. These are batch cooling, immersion cooling, truck cooling, and continuous cooling.
Both batch, and continuous hydro cooling use the same equipment a water tank, pumps, a water discharge chamber and a refrigeration unit. Both processes are most effective for medium to large produce operations. Continuous hydro cooling moves produce on a conveyor belt through a water discharge chamber. In a batch system, groups of pallets are packed with produce and are drenched in water.