Tag Archives: Vegetables

Gentle Drying of Fruit and Vegetable Purees in a BIRS Spray Dryer.

Here is another story looking at product development focussing on premium products which avoid heat treatment in processing.

The BRIS process uses ambient temperature air which has been dried using heating and silica gel to a few percent relative humidity, in a counter current drying tower.

click the image to visit the website

This application by Naturex, a French company more focussed on natural ingredients for the food & beverage, nutrition and health and personal Care industries, is a first for them. The products main selling point appears to be their good organoleptic properties and their ease and quality of reconstitution.


Bespoke Fruit & Vegetable Washing Solutions?

Sometimes I expect more when I read. Headline like this one, probablyq because I am alive.

click the image to visit the website

Reading further this is a company that sells chlorine and sulphite based chemicals for fruit and vegetable rinsing. They now offer a service based on analysing the untreated water and developing a custom dosage regime for the factory's particular circumstances.


I would have thought that the chemical dosage is normally done on site using trial and error, but it makes publicity and marketing sense.

The African Market/Solar Garden

Over the years I have seen many attempts, and been involved in some myself, where there has been an attempt to introduce vegetable production in resource poor communities. This one – The African Market Garden (AMG) seems to address a number of the problems I saw and refreshingly provides some hard information on costs and incomes.

A System of Horticulture Production Based on Irrigation and the Minimisation of Running Costs

from: MASHAV
(click image for full story online)

The model seems to be most often attributed to ICRISAT but is being developed in a number of areas by organisations including Stanford & Ben Gurion Universities, MASAV, CIGAR and AVRDC.

In a sense its a very simple blending of simple technologies to provide a solution that matches the needs and circumstances of the poor farmers involved.

  • drip irrigation to minimise the amount of water required
  • the optimisation of production through crop selection and training
  • the balancing of household use and sale for income
  • solar energy to eliminate running costs such as electricity or diesel
  • an affordable capital cost

No new technology in that! just implementation!

The question is how have so many projects, which presented similar simple models, not managed to succeed – I believe its the commitment and dedication of the right people.

Some links to other stories:

ICRISAT The African Market Garden – Advanced Horticulture for the Poor

African Market Garden in the Sahel

Solar Market Garden

Solar Electric Light Fund: Projects: Benin

GMP & HACCP In Fruit & Vegetable Processing

This is a useful 40 page document from a USAID project. What is interesting about the document is that it addresses two levels, the overall GMP & HACCP process and suggestions on how to introduce them as well as the detailed information on design, finishes, practices, conditions of processing plants that all require attention.



from: USAID
(click image for full story online)


The table of contents clarifies the scope of the report.



Ugandan Study Of The Effect of Drying on Nutritional Content of Vegetables

This study in the African Journal of Nutrition, Agriculture and Development (AJFAND), clearly shows, as would be expected, the loss in Vitamin A and C was the highest, while the crude protein content measured by a Kjeldahl method fell more than the minerals and fibre which one would not expect to be directly effected by drying.


from: AJFAND
(click image for full story online)

I would have liked to have seen a bit more on the heat sensitive components of the three Amaranthus varieties used as feed and some mass balances to compare the degree of drying with the nutrient changes.

It is also interesting to note that AJFAND is a free online journal and that is edited by Professor Ruth Oniang’o. A few of the other articles that caught my eye were.

  • Use of dried kapenta (Limnothrissa miodon and Stolothrissa tanganicae) and other products based on wholde fish for complementing maize-based diets.
    Anna Haug et al.



Overdoing Food Quality? – Musings

So now we need to grow our vegetables under cover to stop “the critters” soiling them and effecting our health?


Greenhouse growers push food safety message | The Packer.jpg

from: The Packer
(click image for full story online)


Reminds me of the reaction when you suggest sun drying to someone as an appropriate technology. The immediate reaction is “but what about the safety” not realising the majority of the worlds dried fruit is sun dried.

Which in turn illustrates the marketers “skill” to have come up with the natural sun dried concept to the upper income shoppers at Woolworths, five years ago.

Who Really Uses Value Chains?

The value chain is a recent formalised system for evaluating and understanding the issues up stream and downstream of a food processing operation that can effect its viability. An example of a value chain from Cambodia is given below.



from: Agro Biz Cambodia
(click image for full story online)


The full article presents information on process, technology and equipment in tabular form.

I am interested in how this type of “technology” which every successful business had mastered during its development becomes formalised and then becomes a buzzword that is widely used but seldom impactfuly implemented. It becomes a kind of tick the box issue that all projects should have but few utilise innovatively.

Maybe thats too cynical but why not tell me what you think?


Combined Preservation Methods – Free Technology Information

Here’s another one of those amazing FAO books. Although its focussed on rural processing it presents technologies that can produce products the equal of large industry.


Handling and Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables by Combined Methods for Rural Areas.jpg

from: FAO
(click image for full story online)


This is mainly hurdle technology where shelf stability is achieved by a combination of processes and ingredients rather than a single one. The focus is on water activity rather than moisture and allows the production of more sophisticated shelf stable foods that the traditional sun dried vegetable. The contents of the manual below gives an idea of its breadth and depth.

1.1 Trade and global trends: Fruits and vegetables 3
1.2 Traditional consumption 4
1.3 Economic and social impact 4
1.4 Commercial constraints 5
1.5 Post-harvest losses and resource under-utilization in developing countries 6
1.6 Pre-processing to add value 8
1.7 Pre-processing to avoid losses 8
1.8 Alternative processing methods for fruits and vegetables in rural areas 8

2.1 Harvest handling 19
2.1.4 Packing in the field and transport to packinghouse 26
2.2 Post-harvest handling 29
2.2.1 Curing of roots, tubers, and bulb crops 29
2.2.2 Operations prior to packaging 30
2.2.3 Packaging 31
2.2.4 Cooling methods and temperatures 33
2.2.5 Storage 35
2.2.6 Pest control and decay 37

3.1 Water Activity (aw) concept and its role in food preservation 39
3.2 Intermediate Moisture Foods (IMF) concept 44
3.3 Combined methods for preservation of fruits and vegetables: a preservation concept 46

4.1 Preliminary operations 56
4.2 Desired aw and syrup formulation 57
4.3 Example of application 60
4.4 Packaging methods for minimally processed products 74
4.5 Transport, storage and use of fruits preserved by combined methods 75
4.6 Quality control 79

5.1 Preliminary operations 83
5.2 Combined optional treatments 86
5.3 Packaging methods 91
5.4 Transport, storage and use of vegetables preserved by combined methods 92
5.5 Quality control 95

The manual can be read online or downloaded as pdf files for each chapter.


New Food Drying Technology?

Is this really a new technology? too often I’ve read about the next new drying technology but the changes haven’t been significant for many years. At the end of the day that cost is a major issue where many new technologies have failed.


New food dehydration kit delivers “revolutionary” benefits.jpg

from: Food Production Daily
(click image for full story online)


This seems to work on a combination of microwave heating and pressure to control the structure of the material in some kind of “black box” technology.

However the claims of the manufacturer EnWave Corporation of Canada that

compared with the industry standard, freeze drying technology, the new equipment cuts processing time to minutes rather than hours or days, cuts energy use by one third and capital costs by one sixth

make the equipment interesting.

The fact that the equipment is sold with a royalty income stream is also indicative of the company’s commitment to the technology.


Drying Chillies


This Technical Bulletin from Practical Action gives details on drying, milling and packaging chillies.

The bulletin gives information on both solar drying which works well in dry weather and other dryers than can be used when the humidity is higher.

The article can be viewed in text format online and can be downloaded as a pdf document with pictures. To download one needs to register, but their is no charge.

The article includes the contact details of two dryer suppliers, but they are both in India. This is an issue I think we could try and address – the supply of up to date and more comprehensive lists of suppliers.