Pre-cooling is the first step in the temperature management of fruits and vegetables after harvest.
It refers to the rapid removal of field heat shortly after the harvest of a crop.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that pre-cooling is “amongst the most efficient quality enhancements available” and is regarded “as one of the most value-adding activities in the horticultural chain”.
Proper post-harvest cooling can:
- Suppress enzymatic action and respiratory activity
- Slow or inhibit water loss
- Slow or inhibit the growth of decay-producing micro-organisms
- Reduce the production of ethylene (a ripening gas naturally produced in produce)