Farmers facing current economic realities are searching for new options for surviving and expanding their businesses. One of the many opportunities to grow markets, turnover, and profits is adding value to farm produce. Options need to be selected carefully based on sound information and knowledge of the opportunities presenting themselves seen in the light of the strengths and weaknesses of individual farms.
Food processing takes place on various scales: small-scale processing usually takes place in the household kitchen, whereas larger-scale food processing is done in factories and bakeries. However, regardless of the scale of food processing being undertaken, the processes involved are the same.
These processes are known as unit operations and are conducted in sequence. The aim of this article is solely to provide the reader with some basic information on food processing to realize the extent of these unit operations involved in the manufacture of brassica-based products. The needs and values of every individual processing entrepreneur differ and can only be addressed properly by a team of experts. This article does not cover any legal aspects, international, national, or local laws, quality management, marketing, financing, etc. It is to be used solely as an oversight on the processing of brassicas, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, and is to be used as a starting guide from where an interested party can gain a brief overview of the extent of products and processing options available for processing these fruits.
Most value-added food products available to consumers have been processed in some way or other, even if said processing is as simple as cleaning the product before it is packed in plastic or net bags. Two types of processing methods may be conducted on raw produce or materials:
• Primary processing includes the simplest of processing such as washing, peeling, chopping, aging, the milling of wheat for flour, and the processing of sugarcane.
• Secondary processing involves the conversion of primary processed products into more complex food products and includes procedures such as mixing, depositing, layering, extruding, drying, fortifying, fermentation, pasteurization, clarification, and heating, to name but a few.
Without the aid of food processing, we as consumers would not have the convenience of the large variety of food products available in supermarkets and other food outlets. Processing of raw products has several advantages:
• It allows for the year-round availability of food that has only a limited growing season or is not grown in certain areas due to soil and climate factors, processing examples being frozen and canned fruit, vegetables as well as meat products.
• Processing extends the shelf-life of products, such as canned fish and UHT milk.
• Food processing improves the safety of our food supply through processes intended to destroy harmful bacteria and packaging helps in the prevention of food tampering.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register