30 Sep How are pre-cooked beans produced?
Pre-cooked beans or tinned beans are some of the most popular pre-cooked pulses in the world. But, how exactly are pre-cooked beans manufactured? The process is made up of six steps: reception, hydration, cooking, packaging, sterilization and labelling. After all that, the distribution phase begins to get them out onto the national market or ready for exportation.
But, we’re going to go step-by-step and tell you about all the phases of pre-cooked beans production in the tinned foods industry:
The reception of dried beans.
The first step in the process of producing pre-cooked beans is receiving the dried pulses. Their transport, unloading and storage are highly important. And even more so when you’re talking about producing organic beans. It´s necessary to have different warehouses to store the dried beans: the traditional ones go in one warehouse and the ones from organic farming go in another. This separation is essential to ensuring the organic beans do not come into contact with the traditional beans.
Once we have the raw material, it’s transferred from the storage warehouses to the first area of the plant. This area has hydration basins, also known as silos, where we put all the dried beans. These tanks are later filled with water to hydrate the beans. They remain inside for a certain amount of time depending on the end product they will be used for.
When the beans have already completed the hydration phase, they’re taken to another area where the cooking is done. This procedure is known as scalding and consists of cooking the beans for a very short period of time. It’s done with a specific machine that submerges the beans in water at an exact temperature. Then, they continue along a line where pressurized water is applied to remove any skins. Later, they are moved along a flat area where they undergo vertical movements to shake off any remaining water and make the beans loose.
Pre-cooked beans packaging.
The pre-cooked beans are ready! Now it’s time to put them in containers: either glass jars or tins in different weights and dimensions based on each customer’s needs. The process is similar in all cases. A machine dispenses the exact amount in each container and they’re moved along a line where they are later filled with water and a small bit of salt. This is known as preserving liquid and the purpose is to help maintain all of the product’s properties.
Afterwards, the containers are closed with the corresponding lids so they are completely sealed and are moved through a washing area where pressurized water is applied.
The containers of pre-cooked beans are moved along conveyor belts to the sterilization area. They are organized here into several tanks which are put into autoclaves where the sterilization process takes place. This is done by applying a specific pressure and temperature for a certain amount of time to achieve the desired result.
After going through the autoclaves, the pre-cooked tinned beans are taken to the labelling and packaging area. The corresponding labels for each product are affixed to the containers here. They are organized by boxes of several units and by pallets. And… They’re now ready to begin the trip to supermarket shelves all around the world!