Dried fruits may be subject to a natural loss in weight due to loss of moisture content and from natural desiccation. They are readily damaged by moisture which may cause mold and mildew. Contact with water, humidity, sudden changes of temperature, heat or insufficient drying before shipment may cause fermentation, in which case the damaged portion should immediately be removed to avoid the remainder being affected. Prompt action should also be taken to have the fruit dried in order to minimize the loss. Fruits so affected may sometimes be used for the extraction of alcohol. Care should be taken in attributing the damage to contact with water, as pressure and heat coupled with the natural moisture content of the fruits themselves can give the appearance of water damage. Care should also be taken not to attribute the cause of damage to salt water merely because a chemical test gives a chloride reaction, as some sound fruits are likely to react to a test for chlorides to a small degree. Laboratory test suspect samples, for presence of seawater is recommended.
Dried fruits, if not properly sterilized before shipment, are prone to infestation, which is encouraged by heat. The formation of a brownish powder indicates internal insect development which may also give rise to heating and mold development. Some dried fruits absorb moisture and this leads to the formation of mold, which is accelerated by heat. Dried fruits will absorb extraneous odors and should be stowed away from any commodity giving off an odor. Certain fruits (e.g. dates) should not, unless absolutely necessary, be kept in cold storage, as they are liable to sweat and spoil their containers when removed. Through age, the fruits shrink and lose their natural "bloom." Dried fruits also become "sugared with age, and care should be taken not to confuse "sugaring" through age with mold damage. If moldy, fruits become inedible, whereas if "sugared," they may be reconditioned by dipping in boiling water and subsequently drying out. After reconditioning, the fruits must be disposed of with the least possible delay. When packed in cartons, pressure from the piling of the packages on top of one another has a tendency to press in this fiber covering, bringing about direct weight on the contents, and so squeezing out the juices or moisture, not only causing damage in appearance but also attracting weevil, etc.
- Commodity Name: