1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The main objectives of this proposed project are to quantify and demonstrate the energy and water saving capability, process efficiency and product quality improvement of Infrared Radiation (IR) heating technology for processing fruits and vegetables. The demonstration will focus on two novel applications of SIRFD and SIRDBD to various fruit and vegetable products including sliced strawberries, carrots, potatoes and zucchinis. The benefits of using these new IR processing technologies will be quantified, demonstrated, transferred to industry and publicized in both scientific and popular press, and media. The full scale IR processing unit will also be used to develop novel drying processes for other shelf-stable fruit and vegetable products.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The new processing technologies will be demonstrated at two different processing facilities. During the demonstrations, energy consumption and product quality will be measured, recorded, statistically analyzed and compared with the current processing methods. Based on the results obtained from the demonstrations, the operational and design parameters for commercial scale IR heating devices for specific applications will be optimized. Dissemination of the information will be realized through progress reports, publications and on-site seminars.
Progress reported supports parent project objectives around developing sustainable new processes to add value to specialty crops and their co-products. A demonstration of the infrared blanching and dehydration mobile unit was performed at a large potato chip manufacturer in Washington State. Results indicate significant savings in energy and reductions in cook time can be achieved through infrared blanching and partial dehydration. In addition, significant reductions in fat content of final chips were realized. A second demonstration in California is now being planned to test the demonstration unit on six vegetables in a commercial facility.