Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hydro-Cooled and Waxed Peaches

When we recently visited the Farmer's Market with our granddaughter, we bought half a bushel of hydro-cooled and waxed South Carolina peaches.  I have not really paid that much attention to peaches but I asked the farmer if he had any (soft) peaches ready for making jam.  He shook his head and said that peaches like that wouldn't keep a day out in the heat.

The peaches in the plastic lined box did feel "hard" but I was assured that if I left the peaches out for a few days, they would soften up and be ready for making jam.  The hydro-cooled and waxed peaches lasted for five days and only one peach had to be discarded because of a minor bruise.

I understand that fruit waxing is not a new process.  The peach fuzz is first removed from the peaches by brushing and then they are partially waxed.  There has to be enough circulating within the peach to circulate and eliminate the natural gas but still retain its juice/moisture/water.

It is also my understanding that waxing will prevent, to some extent, water from the hydro-cooling process to enter the peach.  From "Harvesting and Handling Peaches" posted on line by the University of Georgia, "Hydro-cooling is popular because of its efficiency and speed."  It is 20 times greater than air, depending upon the relative flow rates of the water.  15 to 30 minutes is generally sufficient if the water temperature is 35 degrees F, the article states.

In the Southeast, the traditional method of choice is hydro-cooling.  During hydro-cooling, "Heat is removed from the pit and interior pulp to the surface by a process known as conduction and from the fruit surface to the cooling medium by convection."

There is so much more information available about pre-cooling and hydro-cooling in the University of Georgia article on the Internet.I found the article interesting and it explained how the peaches could keep so smooth and fresh while shipping and lasting several days at home.

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