UCCE Master Gardeners of San Joaquin County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: heat

Reduce Soil Pests with Sunlight

Clear plastic is laid over planting beds to elevate soil temperatures. (Credit: K Windbiel-Rojas)

Soil solarization is a method home gardeners and farmers can use to manage soilborne pests such as weeds, disease pathogens, nematodes and insects. Solarization can reduce help reduce pesticides used to control these pests. Soil solarization is...

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 9:38 AM
Tags: control (41), disease (32), garden (46), heat (3), IPM (64), management (28), pest management (25), Pest Notes (58), pests (55), soil (4), solarization (7), Stapleton (2), UC IPM (225), weeds (64)

Reducing water use in food processing

Home cooks know the secret to peeling tomatoes is a quick dip in hot water to loosen the skins. It takes a lot of water (and heating energy) to peel three million pounds of processing tomatoes in California each year. New UC Davis research is fine-tuning a novel way of peeling all those tomatoes with almost no water — using infrared heat.

Two methods are used to remove skins in processed tomatoes — a hot water/lye dip, or steam. The dip method uses a lot of water, a lot of energy, and creates a lot of salts . . . which presents its own disposal problem. Steam treatment heats too much of the tomato, resulting in reduced yield and quality.

“The tomato processing industry has long been interested in finding a better way of peeling tomatoes,” says Dr. Zhongli Pan, a USDA researcher, and an adjunct professor at UC Davis. He found that peeling tomatoes with infrared heat eliminates lye use, greatly reduces water use, and results in better quality tomatoes.

Infrared heat is similar to heat from the sun and fireplaces. It allows for efficient heat transfer from the source to the product. Infrared heat has promising potential not only for dry-peeling tomatoes, peaches, and other produce, but also for blanching many fruits and vegetables before freezing, such as apples and “baby” carrots.

Pan and his colleagues are building a pilot-scale infrared tomato heating device. The goal is to develop commercial-scale guidelines for peeling tomatoes and other products with infrared heat. As California's water resources dwindle, new technologies such as this should reduce our reliance on water.

Higher-quality pizza and tomato sauces, and many other food products may appear on our tables if infrared heat can be adopted by the food-processing industry. The secondary impact on water conservation will benefit us all.

(This article was condensed from UC Davis’ “CA&ES Outlook” magazine, fall/winter 2009, page 10.)

Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 2:05 PM
Tags: food processing (2), heat (3), tomatoes (11), water (19), Zhongli Pan (1)

Gone Fishin'


It's not just two-legged humans that take a dip in the pool. So do six-legged honey bees searching for water. When temperatures soar, honey bees scramble to collect water for their colony. They release droplets of water in the hive as their...


CARNIOLAN HONEY BEE, a dark bee, is drenched from falling into a swimming pool. She is magnum black. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


RECUPERATING from an unwanted dip in a swimming pool, this Carniolan honey bee is just about ready to take flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Italian bee
Italian bee

THIS ITALIAN BEE rests after a near fatal dip in a swimming pool while she was trying to collect water for her hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Up and Over
Up and Over

UP AND OVER--An Italian honey bee climbs up a swim mat. Bee friendly hosts netted her from their swimming pool a few moments earlier. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2009 at 7:07 PM
Tags: black bee (1), Carniolan (1), heat (3), Italian bees (2), swimming pools (1)
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