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Cold Preservation and Processing 767

Controlled Low Temperature

Properly designed refrigerators, refrigerated storage rooms, and warehouses will


provide sufficient refrigeration capacity and insulation to maintain the room within
about ± 1°Cof the selected refrigeration temperature. In order to design a refrigerated
space capable of maintaining this temperature, it is necessary to know, in addition to
the insulation requirements, all factors that may generate heat within this space or
influence ease ofremoval of heat from the space. These factors include the number of
heat-generating electric lights and electric motors that may be operating, the number
of people that may be working in the refrigerated space, how often doors to the area
will be open to permit entrance of warm air, and the kinds and amounts offood products
that will be stored in the refrigerated area.
This latter item is of importance for two major reasons: First, the quantity of heat
that must be removed from any amount of food to lower it from one temperature to
another is determined by the specific heat of the particular food; and second, during
and after cooling, such foods as fruits and vegetables respire and produce their own
heat at varying rates. Both the specific heats and respiration rates of all important
foods are known or can be closely estimated. These values, in addition to the items
mentioned above, are necessary to calculate the "refrigeration load," which is the
quantity of heat that must be removed from the product and the storage area in order
to go from an initial temperature to the selected final temperature and then maintain
this temperature for a specified time.
The heat evolved during respiration by representative fruits and vegetables is listed
in Table 9.2. The amount of heat produced varies with each product, and like all
metabolic activities decreases with storage temperature. Products with particularly
high respiration rates, such as snap beans, sweet corn, green peas, spinach, and straw-
berries, are particularly difficult to store. Such products, if closely packed in a bin,
can rot in the center even when the surrounding air is cool due to the heat generated
by the product. The relationships between specific heats of foods and calculation of
refrigeration load will be discussed in the section on freezing and frozen storage.

Air Circulation and Humidity

Proper air circulation helps move heat away from the vicinity offood surfaces toward
refrigerator cooling coils and plates. But the air that is circulated within a cold storage
room must not be too moist or too dry. Air of high humidity can condense moisture
on the surface of cold foods. If this is excessive, molds will grow on these surfaces at
common refrigeration temperatures. If the air is too dry, it will cause drying out of
foods. All foods are different with respect to supporting mold growth and tendency to
dry out, and so for each, an optimum balance must be reached. The optimum relative
humidity (RID to be maintained in cool storage rooms for most foods is known. Table
9.3 summarizes the best storage temperatures and relative humidities for many food
items and their approximate storage life. (This table also includes data necessary for
calculation of refrigeration loads.) Most foods store best at refrigeration temperatures
when the relative humidity of air is between about 80% and 95%. The optimal relative
humidity for a particu\ar food is generally related to its moisture content and the ease
with which it dries outl-For example, celery and several other crisp vegetables require
a relative humidity of 90-95%, whereas nuts may do well at only 70%. On the other
hand, dry and granular products such as powdered milk and eggs, which have extended