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Steam Sterilization

Increase the Value of Spices by Gentle Steam Sterilization

| Author / Editor: Ulrich Vielhaber, Thomas Boerboom* / Manja Wühr

Hardly any differences in the quality can be recognized in a before and after comparison.
Hardly any differences in the quality can be recognized in a before and after comparison. (Source: Ava)

The color, smell and taste — what would cuisine be without spices? Presumably bland. But how could producers extend the shelf-life without compromising the magic of spices? Ava has found a way.

Spices have always been valuable products in people’s lives. If they were formerly weighed up with treasures such as gold and precious stones, spices of high quality still produce good prices on the world market. But what makes the spices so valuable? Spices fascinate the people at the sight by their bright colors, they enchant the kitchen with their beguiling fragrances and end up giving the meals a delicious and inimitable taste. In short, one speaks of the magic of spices.

But how is the value of spices on the market defined? In addition to their magical properties of color, smell and taste, the goods must also fulfill criteria for durability and harmlessness for the consumer, in short food safety. An important point here is the reduction of the germ load. Spices are an agricultural product that is usually reared, picked and stored by hand under simplest conditions. In combination with warm and humid climates in the production regions, high loads with bacteria and (yeast) fungi are inevitable. These germs affect the shelf life of the spices and can have negative effects for the consumer. The germ load therefore results in a shorter shelf life and lower merchantability of the valuable products.

For this reason, it is worthwhile to carry out a sterilization of the spices. Over the years, a number of sterilization procedures have been developed, but these have often had a negative impact on the quality of the spices. In some cases, harmful substances were used. In other conventional open and pressureless sterilization processes, long process times were necessary and the volatile substances could easily escape.

Ava has developed a sterilization process which guarantees a reliable germ reduction and hardly affects the quality of the spices. Ava Dynamic Spices Sterilization Technology was developed by the Ava process technology in its development center in Herrsching. In further test series at spice manufacturers in India and China, this technology has been verified and refined. The result is a process that reliably sterilizes and hardly any differences in the quality can be recognized in a before and after comparison.

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