Postharvest handling

The time from the paddock to the cold room is another is another aspect which should always be kept in mind. To maintain optimum quality and shelf life, it should never exceed 30 minutes.

Cold rooms are essential and forced air-cooling is critical for bulk-harvested product. Settings are very specific as the product should not have air drawn over it too quickly or it will cause product burn. Different crops have different temperature requirements, the most sensitive being basil. It is important to cool the stem as well as the leaf or heat will begin to be generated whenever the product is removed from the forced air environment. (Recommended cooling temperatures are available through the Austrailan Herbs & Spice Industry Association (AHSIA— see the "Key references" section).

Many customers require product to be washed. Various commercial washing systems are available and the product also needs to be spin-dried after washing, again to maintain shelf life.

Processing room - protected crop. Inset: Cold room with harvesting bins

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