Monday, February 15, 2010

Preservation of Arecanut

Lately I'm working on a project for which we require fresh arecanut(Beetle-nut). As arecanut is seasonal we are working on how to preserve it for a period of 3 months. As there are no known techniques we are working on preservation from scratch. The best part about this R&D is meeting various people in the same field and documenting each and every method that is being tried. I'm just enjoying every part of it.

Recently I had a very interesting discussion with Prof. Maache of CFTRI pertaining to respiratory behavior of perishable fruits. A very interesting method used to preserve fruits is by restricting the rate of respiration which would eventually slow down the ripening process. Also it helps by storing the fruits at very low temperature which slows down the chemical reactions. Its very much similar to hibernation in animals. Prof explained that the same technique is being used by sadhus in Himalaya who just learn to control their breathing in very cold temperatures which helps them to live a little longer. Slower an animal breaths, longer it lives. This in fact helped me relate to few things and incidents that are mentioned in a book "Living with the Himalayan Masters" by Swami Rama that I'm reading. All of a sudden the content and the authors experiences made so much sense.

Still working on various technique to preserve the last harvest of the season. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that the nuts will last a little longer then the previous batch.