Just like the vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator, creating the proper temperature and moisture levels for produce used on a commercial level can extend their life and save you money and protect you from ruined product. While fresher foods are known to have a higher vitamin content, they also last longer, which means they are saleable for a longer period of time, translating into less waste and more profit for you, the seller.
Sure, it’s fairly common knowledge that keeping fruits and vegetables at the proper temperature and moisture level helps maintain freshness, but it’s arguably a less common fact that apples and lettuce need to be kept at different temperature and moisture levels than garlic and onions, which are also different from the temperature and moisture requirements for sweet potatoes or peppers. Monitoring the temperature and the moisture levels of your produce is a great way to lengthen its life, and the best way to do this is by using both a temperature sensor and a moisture meter, so that each different kind of produce is ideally stored.
How Temperature Can Affect Your Produce
In general, fresh produce needs to be kept between 41 and 45℉ for safety, and to keep bacteria from growing. However, there are specific temperature requirements for different kinds of produce that can further extend their life. If produce is kept below its ideal temperature range, it can ruin both the texture and taste. Lettuce and other leafy greens are particularly sensitive to freezing, and after thawing, appear wilted and soggy (which, of course, no one wants to purchase), but all produce is susceptible to losing its zest when it’s stored at a temperature that is too cold.
On the flipside, produce that is kept too warm in temperature encourages bacteria growth, which can cause food-borne illness and rapid spoiling of the product, which most certainly causes the seller and supplier money, since it will need to be discarded and replaced more frequently.
Storing produce at the correct temperature is one of the best ways to ensure that your produce is salable for as long as possible, earning you more profits. Using a temperature sensor to check each varying kind of produce is the simplest way to make sure your food is consistently stored at a safe temperature, from refrigerated warehouse to truck to cold rooms, no matter the specifications. Having a temperature sensor at each step of the process is vital to transporting and storing produce.
Temperature also plays a big factor regarding relative humidity. And humidity can make a big difference in the life of your favorite vegetable. Here’s how:
How Moisture Can Affect Your Produce
Much like the temperature at which produce is stored, moisture levels have a great deal to do with the longevity of your fruits and veggies. The optimal moisture level varies based on type of produce as well. High humidity levels keep pathogens from breaking down between the field and the supermarket.
If produce is stored at improper humidity levels, one of two things can happen:
- When stored at moisture levels that are too high, foods can become soft or soggy, and they can even rot.
- At moisture levels that are too low, produce can wilt.
Humidity and moisture levels in your fruits and vegetables is all about water vapor and its search for equilibrium with its surroundings. If the moisture vapor level in the air is too low or too high, it can either take too much moisture away from your produce, or leave it far too soggy to sell.
Ignoring moisture levels can quickly lead to a produce section full of sad-looking, even potentially dangerous fruits and vegetables. Consistent monitoring of moisture levels is a great way to keep your produce looking fresh and tasting delicious for much, much longer.
Using Kett’s moisture meters is easy, accurate, and will dramatically lengthen the life of your produce, keeping your red delicious apples at their most delicious, and your iceberg lettuce at its crispest. You can learn more about Kett’s line of moisture meters here, or contact us today for more information.