During the almond processing operation, the seeds are prepared in various ways: whole, blanched (outer skin removed), shredded, slivered, diced, or ground into meal. They may be dry roasted or oil roasted. Whether you’re processing almonds for consumption as a nut or processing them into something else like almond flour, almond milk, or almond butter, moisture is critical to your operation.
Moisture is a critical consideration in the hulling, blanching, slicing, roasting, and packaging of almonds. They are a low moisture (less than 6%) and high oil containing product. Packaged almonds should be stored in a cool environment (less than 50 deg. F) and at less than 6% moisture content. Ideally the moisture content will be less than 3% for roasted almonds. With proper storage conditions and moisture measurement, almonds can last up to 2 years.
Because hull moisture content should not exceed 13% according to the California Department of Food and Agricultural (CDFA), on-line moisture meters are a critical component of any optimal almond processing operation. Hulls over 13% are considered damaged and can lead to spoilage, mold growth, and microbial contamination. An on-line moisture meter provides instantaneous moisture results in hulls moved via conveyor belt, screw conveyor, or in a gravity feed chute configuration. Moisture measurement prior to drying can identify hulls that are too wet and therefore require additional drying or can confirm lower moisture that would eliminate extra drying that would otherwise be used as a precautionary measure. As each extra drying process incurs penalty charges to the manufacturer, the extra handling fees can be quite expensive and lead to excessive meat breakage or even embedded shell particles within the almond meat kernels. These circumstances lead to inedible product that can incur tremendous financial loss for manufacturers.
With intelligent on-line moisture sensing, these expensive problems become an issue of the past.
For the best moisture measurement to keep your almond processing operation running smoothly, we offer two devices to alleviate all your moisture-related concerns: The Model MCPC, a RF (radio frequency) lab analyzer device and our NIR device – the OMNIR on-line near infrared sensor. The Model MCPC is best utilized in laboratory environments for instantaneous, non-destructive moisture measurement. NIR is used where non-contact is needed – this would be best used on hulls and shells transported via conveyor belt.
Almonds arrive at the processing plant at about 4% moisture content but subsequent production steps also affect this moisture level. The moisture is checked following the pasteurizing and blanching processes since the steam process adds moisture to the nuts. On line moisture meters are essential in this production steps in order to provide instantaneous, real time feedback to the dryer operator so that appropriate dryer temperature or feed rate adjustments can be made. Whole raw nuts that are to be directly packaged need to be at about 5-6% moisture content to assure long shelf life with no mold or bacterial growth. If the nuts are to be further processed, such as slivered, diced, sliced, or ground, the moisture level must be in the 6.5-7.5% moisture range to assure minimum breakage and waste. Finna Sensors’ OMNIR near infrared moisture sensor provides this data instantaneously, in a non-destructive way to help ensure optimum product quality.
Almond drying requires real time moisture measurement instrumentation with the ability to adjust process variables with little or no operator interface. We’ve been proudly serving the almond industry for over 40 years with hundreds of installed meters that have helped improve processes for many almond processing plants. Learn more about how we can innovate your processes today.
The OMNIR On-Line Near Infrared Moisture Sensor not only delivers accurate data instantaneously and non-destructively, it also monitors its own health to help keep your operation running smoothly. Click the button to see how Finna Sensors can assist in augmenting your almond process.Learn More