Coconuts can be processed in a large variety of products: milk, cream, oil, powder, water, copra, dessicated flakes and more. Particularly, coconut water is becoming every day more popular as an healthy beverage and sport drink, since it contains potassium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5 and C, while it's low in calories and cholesterol free.
Bertuzzi manufactures machines and complete plants for processing coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut water.
Coconut water: extraction and filtration
Coconuts are perforated and positioned to recover water. Extracted coconut water is fed to a filtration system to remove the fragments of the shell originated by the perforation process. The product is extremely sensitive and should be immediately cooled down to 2-4°C in order to avoid microbiological and chemical changes.
Coconut milk: kernel chopping and cream extraction
Nuts are deshelled, pared and then routed to a chopper that assures a very fine particle size. The chopped kernel is sent to an helicoidal extractor where the coconut cream is extracted.
Pasteurization, separation and cooling
Both coconut milk and coconut water are pasteurized and processed by a high speed separator in order to remove the suspended solids and standardize the product. The products are then collected in insulated stirred tanks to ensure that the next sections can be continuously operated. The same pasteurizer, separator and cooler can be used for processing milk, water and cream.
Coconut water: concentration
To concentrate coconut water, LTCD evaporators are used. Rising film plate evaporators ensure the lowest retention time and temperature, and therefore better organoleptic characteristics.
Sterilization and filling
Coconut milk and coconut water (whether single strength or concentrated) can be sterilized by a plate heat exchanger or, if food grade steam is available, by a direct heating injection system completed by a tubular heat exchanger.
Coconut cream can be treated with the same process technology, with the only exception that the indirect heat treatment can be carried out only by a tubular heat exchanger.
Finally, coconut milk is usually homogenized before being aseptically filled, in order to avoid the phase separation of water and fat during storage.