More free online food processing information

This is the second in a series of articles on this subject. In the next edition we expect to address a Guide to Indigenous Fruit Processing and Business Management for Small Scale Agroprocessors. Readers are also welcome to send in requests regarding what information they want to find online (by e-mailing ).
Principles and Practices of Small and Medium Scale Fruit Juice Processing
This 220-page book, by Bates, Moris & Crandall, is available free online via (the full url is: )
The book, published by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, covers an wide range of juice processing technologies for a large number of fruits. It starts with background information that includes history, value of juice, definitions, standards, morphology, composition and safety. It then addresses raw materials (including cultivars, seasonality and post-harvest handling).
A general description of fruit juice manufacturing is followed by detailed discussion of juice processing principles, focusing on stabilisation/preservation processes (namely refrigeration, freezing, canning, hot-fill, aseptic processing, sterile filtration, chemical preservatives, concentration, jelly and jam manufacturing, wine making, dehydration and vacuum drying).
The second half of the book presents very practical and detailed information on specific juice products (citrus, grape, apple, pear, peach, apricot, plums, cranberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, cherry, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, guava, papaya, guanabana, acerola, naranjilla, carambola, lychee and banana).
The book also covers tomato and carrot juices and complementary products where juices and pulps are an ingredient – including jams, jellies, syrups, smoothies, dairy, sports drinks and herbal teas.
Throughout, the material is well presented with photographs, tables, diagrams and flowsheets. While the scientific base is given, the focus is on practical descriptions of industrial processes at a very detailed level. The book ends with a large set of references.
A disappointing feature is the limited focus on process management and commercialisation. To address these important aspects, the reader could rather refer to a book such as Setting up and Running a Small Fruit or Vegetable Processing Enterprise (downloadable as a PDF file from: ).
Making Jams, Jellies & Fruit Preserves
This 65-page book, by Barbara H Ingham, is available online via (the full url is )
The book gives comprehensive information on the basis of jam, jelly and preserve making, and a large number of recipes. Being a product of the University of Wisconsin, the measurements are unfortunately in imperial units. However, if you are online, conversions are easily made using Google search with, say, "convert 134°F to C" or other conversion tools.
The book starts with a discussion of the raw materials used in jam making, giving specific information on types of pectin and discussing the alternatives to sugar. Then there is a description of the equipment and packaging material required. There follows a general description of the processes for making jam, and tables which present recipes and conditions for a range of 30 jams.
Jellies, low-sugar jams, no-sugar jams and refrigerator jams are presented in the same way. Preserves, conserves, marmalade, fruit butters and syrups are covered with detailed recipes.
There is information on freezing fruit when supply is high, for later jam-making; a trouble-shooting table for jellies; and the various methods of deciding when boiling should be stopped.
One important issue is that all recipes include the use of a boiling water canner. This is basically a hot water bath into which filled and sealed bottles are immersed for several minutes (depending on the product and the process). This food hygiene process is not universally used. Provided jam has an appropriate water activity and is properly hot-filled it is not vulnerable to microbial contamination. In fact this property is what lead to the original development of jam as a means of preserving fruit.
Market Research for Agroprocessors
This 100-page-plus book, by Andrew Shepherd, is available via ( the full url is: ).
Also published by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, it presents a simple and logical look at how a small agroprocessor should go about making sure that there is a market for the product it intends producing.
The contents page indicates the book’s scope: Why do we need market research? How much can be sold, where and when? Researching consumer attitudes to your products? How can your product be made attractive to consumers? How should your product be distributed? How should you promote your product. Are your agroprocessing plans feasible? Will your business be profitable, and at what prices? Annexure 1: Questions for market research Annexure 2: A consumer questionnaire.
Throughout, there are "Hint" boxes which present practical ideas and "Word of Warning" boxes which identify particular problems.
The sections on collecting information, distribution and advertising contain practical examples and illustrations.
The last two sections on feasibility and profitability are really important and often don’t get enough attention in the euphoria associated with a new product. The former goes through aspects such as production and seasonality, location of the farmers and buying costs, price variation, scope for farmers to increase production, labelling, distribution and promotion, licensing and regulations; the latter offers examples of costing and cash flow. Each section ends with a "Reaching Conclusions" box, which identifies the new information the user should generate.
The book is illustrated with cartoons and contains real examples of checklists for research, and a consumer survey in the annexes. The book ends with a set of references. – Dave Harcourt