I. Background of Carrot Processing
Carrot is one of the most popular root vegetables. It is widely used as the ingredient in food from all over the world, usually in orange. Its high nutrition value of β-carotene, dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals; flexible ways of carrot processing technology and storability make carrot popular after it was carried out from its home in Afghanistan and Iran. The tradition of wild and early forms of the domesticated carrot is used as medicinal material, moving from Egypt to Greece and Rome in 1st millennium BC, after centuries of selection for domestic consumption, the modern orange-colored carrot that appeared first in the 17th century Netherlands.
II. Carrot Production
Whole world produces roughly 37.5 million MT of carrots every year. 54.7% of carrot is produced from Asia area, while 28% of its production is from Europe area. This year, according to the data, the global cultivated amount of carrots is about 35 MT, Asia and Europe still produce the large part of worldwide carrots. Based on the statistics, China(harvested area:492162 ha), Russia(87810 ha), Ukraine(39800 ha), the United States(37440 ha) and Turkey(32000 ha) are top five carrot yielding country.
III. Carrot Consumption in Worldwide
In the worldwide, fresh carrot’s consumption is roughly 5 kg per capital every year. In America, people buy carrots both in forms of fresh and frozen mostly and therefore carrots are the 7th most necessary agricultural vegetable, U.S.A’s average consumption of carrots could be up to 7.65 kg every year.
Carrots can be eaten in a variety of ways. Fried carrot is a common dish in families, β—carotene in the fresh carrot can be improved to 39% by cooking with oil. Alternatively they may be cooked in soups and stews, a steaming bowl of carrot soup is a great way to boost your nutrition in winter. The processed products are varied, too. Carrots can be processed such as dried in forms of chips, flakes, dices, powder; as well as peeled, reshaped and frozen into baby carrots. Carrot consumption market will be influenced by prices change and supply-demand relationship and personal preferences.
In Asia, people consume more fresh carrot than any other forms of carrots. what’s more, in high income family, people will use much fresh carrots as well as the frozen one for later is convenient and clean. The representative country such as: in China, Japan and Korea, family usually cook fresh carrots directly in a dish or soup, or decorated for the plate. While the processed carrot products such as American baby carrots will be a good snack for Asians.
On the other hand, people in the western country like America will likely to buy some processed carrot products with functionality and nutrition, and the characteristic of ready-to-eat will take into consideration, such as: the mix vegetable powder.
In another western country like Europe, it’s hardly to find carrot products of chunk type in the market. Instead, only a certain amount of carrots which has been processed sold in supermarket, such as the washed and cut ones in package, other forms of carrot is seldom sold in market.
IV. Carrot Processing Technology Insight
Carrot is widely consumed as a common dish in families, its processed products vary in many types such as fresh-cut food, carrot juice or dehydrated flakes. Each country’s carrot processing technology is different, too.
4.1 American fresh-cut carrot processing technology
The fresh-cut products technology, also called as minimally processed products, originates from America. The fresh-cut technology include reception, size sorting, cleaning, cutting, sterilizing, blanching, draining, packing. Firstly, select fresh vegetables which directly influence final goods quality, size, ripeness are main standard. When cutting, the larger the cutting area, the easier the product goes bad. Pay attention to: whether your knife is clean and dry. After sterilizing, the conveyor will transfer carrots to blanch, the blanching temperature had better be lower than 20℃,the blanching time is 20 minutes. Before packing, the water should be dried by the air-blast blowing machine. The fresh-cut carrots are usually sold in supermarkets and restaurants.
4.2 Europe carrot juice processing technology
Carrot juice is largely consumed, too. The top three consumption countries are America, Japan, Germany. In Europe, carrot juice processing technologies are grading, washing, crushing, filtering, degassing, concentrating, sterilizing (high pressure technology), packing. Especially, Finland adopts high pressure technology in sterilizing carrot juice which can result in minimal modifications in nutritional and sensory quality of food.
Tips: when crushing carrots, processor can add proper Vc as antioxidant for improving juice color and nutritional value. Before concentrating, juice need to be degassing to prevent Vc&nutrition from oxidation in carrot juice.
4.3 Carrot dehydration
Another common carrot processing technology is carrot dehydration. Roughly 9kg of fresh carrots yield 1 kg of dehydrated carrots.
Dehydrated carrots can be processed into varies types such as slices, chips and dices. Dehydrated carrot also has wide application: nutritional supplements of ready-to-eat food such as instant noodles, any dish calling for carrot such as soups, casseroles, stews, pastas and increased shelf life: stored for 10-15 years in a sealed can, after opening, it can be preserved for 6-8 months.
The processed dried carrots can be directly put into use, such as in instant food, fast food restaurants: KFC or PIZZA HUT and others.
4.3.1 Processing steps for dehydrated carrots:
1. The dirt on the fresh carrots should be cleaned before grading carrots, or the grading elevator will be muddy, then graded in size by the carrot grading machine.
2. Wash and trim tips and greens off carrots. Since the carrot with peel is bitter, you can choose carrot peeling machine to peel it.
3. Cut carrots into coins about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. You could also shred carrots with shredding machine and dry them as such-great for carrot cake.
4. Blanching is an important step for carrot processing, for it preserves a bright orange color of carrot and shortens the re-hydration time.The blanching machine can provide large scale of vegetable blanching, and with the automatic control system the temperature is adjustable according to your requirements.
5. Then the carrot slices are spread evenly on the trays of the carrot drying oven. Remember to leave space between the carrots so they’re not touching each other, to allow the hot air to do its job.
6. After finally picking, the dehydrated carrots can be packed and labeled for selling.
4.3.2 Main equipment in carrot dehydration processing technology
Dehydrated carrot is popular in food industry because it preserves the flavor and nutrition of the fresh vegetable, and is easy stored for taking up very little space. So with the professional carrot processing machines, you can have a profitable, quality-guaranteed business in your life.
The main processing machines are carrot grading machine, carrot washing and peeling machine, carrot cutting machine, carrot blanching machine, hot air circulation carrot drying oven, carrot packing machine.