Tips for Cleaning and Shining your Fruit – Citrus, Stone Fruit, and Pomegranates
Having a sustainable and effective cleaning and sanitation program is essential to ensuring a high shine on your fruit. Clean fruit makes the coating process easier, more effective, and if done correctly requires less product to achieve the desired level of gloss. The marketability of our customers’ fruit is always a top priority when it comes to serving our customers and developing Pace’s postharvest solutions. Here are a few tips on how to ensure your cleaning and coating programs result in fruit that is brilliant, glossy, and appealing to the customer.
Cleaning is Critical for a Good Coating Performance
Using a cleaner that is appropriate to the goals of your packing line is a key component to your packing house’s operations. It is our experience that when navel packing houses start the season in the fall, they are frequently gassing the fruit with ethylene for degreening purposes, which requires a different cleaner than when citrus ages or is going through a heavy springtime bloom. Goals may also vary depending on field management needs such as controlling sooty mold and scale.
Pace’s sustainable cleaner portfolio for citrus, stone fruit and pomegranates includes, Acidex, EpiClean, Sooty Mold Cleaner, and PacFoam Plus – each offer different benefits.
Acidex is a cleaner that also serves as a buffer to chlorine in the spray bars and is recommended for most citrus varieties. It brings the pH down on alkaline waters, which is beneficial for chlorine efficacy.
EpiClean, most often recommended for stone fruit, is a neutral cleaner and is recommended for softer citrus varieties, pomegranates, and stone fruit.
Sooty Mold Cleaner is an alkaline cleaner designed exclusively for helping to remove sooty mold fruit the fruit surface when a regular cleaner isn’t strong enough.
PacFoam Plus is an aggressive, alkaline, cleaner used for removal of natural fruit wax that can occur during springtime bloom.
A high-pressure washer is also a critical factor to help remove scale, sooty mold and natural wax in addition to the cleaner application.
Water Elimination Helps Achieve a Good Shine on the Fruit
Dry fruit is equally as important when it comes to coating application. Applying coatings on wet fruit dilutes the coating which results in less brilliance and gloss. Taking into consideration water elimination on the packing line (number of pins, fans, and flicker bars) ensures greater efficacy.
Many citrus packing lines were built with the intention of using foam sponge rolls to remove water efficiently from the fruit surface. Due to food safety requirements these sponge rolls have been removed and replaced with less efficient brushes. Adding fans in these areas over brushes or elevators, along with the addition of flicker bars under the brushes, can greatly improve water elimination. In addition, warming the fruit surface with the application of a heated rinse or heated aqueous fungicide treatment, prior to coating, can go a long way to help dry the surface of the fruit and better prepare the peel for an effective and superior coating application.