New freezing technique extends Chinese litchi season

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New freezing technique extends Chinese litchi season

Researchers in South China's Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences have developed new preservation technology in hopes of securing year-round availability for Chinese litchi, China Daily reports.

The special technique allows "frozen dormant litchi" to retain its most notorious characteristics, such as its bright red color, aroma, and “crystal clear” flesh at about 80 to 90% of the original level.

Thanks to this development, about 200 metric tons of preserved litchi are expected to enter the market early this season. The frozen litchis preserved last year “have been selling well on major e-commerce platforms, including Freshippo and JD,” China Daily reported.

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Deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology Liang Qinru said the special freezing technique involves “immediate pre-cooling, protective coloration, and freezing, preserving the freshness of justpicked litchis.”

"The core point is to quickly freeze and hibernate the flesh cells of litchi below minus 35 C, without damaging the original structure of the flesh, just like animals' hibernation," Qinru told the site.

The newly developed freezing method also aims to expand production capacity, the executive said. 

Litchi cultivation in China can be traced back to the 11th century, and the country is currently the main producer in the market. Vietnam, India, Madagascar, and South Africa also grow and export the fruit.

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