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Winterization strategies for bulk storage of cucumber pickles

Joscelin T. Diaz, Ilenys M. Pérez-Díaz, Josip Simunovic, K.P. Sandeep
Journal of food engineering 2017 v.212 pp. 12-17
cucumbers, fermentation, fiberglass, heat transfer, ice, insulating materials, mathematical models, pickles, snow, spring, tanks, temperature profiles, winter, Michigan
Cucumbers are commercially fermented and stored in bulk in outdoor open top fiberglass tanks. During winter, snow and ice that accumulates around and on top of tanks influence heat transfer in an unpredictable manner, often compromising quality. This study evaluates the performance of inexpensive and resilient fermentation tank insulation and provides an estimate of heat loss associated with strategies for storage and preservation of fermented cucumbers during winter. Three insulation configurations were explored: conical top-cover, flat top-cover, and perimeter insulation. Changes in temperature during storage were experimentally studied in different tank configurations. A mathematical model was developed to simulate temperature profiles and heat loss in an idealized fermentation/storage vessel. Comparisons of the insulated tank configurations suggested a significant difference in temperature between a flat cover and uncovered tank when exposed to temperatures characteristic of the spring season in Pinconning, MI.