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Dried tomatoes: making the salting process automatic and uniform

27/03/2019 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
From a local craft to an industry

Salting is one of the most important stages of the tomato drying process. It has always been carried out by hand, in an approximate way, with no precisely defined quality criteria, for an end product that can be variable in terms of quality and not always satisfactory.

A video is available on YouTube: 

Now, the salting process can be carried out in a precise and uniform way thanks to automatic equipment that requires no human contact with the salt, and is able to perfectly dose the quantities and continue working for long periods of time in hot temperatures. This equipment means that operators can achieve final products of a much higher quality, not only with regard to the drying process, but also in terms of the color of tomatoes. 
Hand salting process
"This new machine is an improvement compared to what was being done a few years ago, stated designer and manufacturer Aurenzo Bagioni, and it answers a precise need expressed by producers of dried tomatoes. The salting process is actually a very important stage for this product, requiring long hours of work using a sieve in order to spread the salt on the long drying tables where the cut tomatoes have been placed.

Automatic precision salting process
"The disadvantage of manual salting is the lack of regularity. Salt can be distributed unevenly, with considerable variations in concentration between the different areas on the tables. There is also the issue of operators being obliged to protect their hands from contact with the salt, which can cause problems in the event of the skin being exposed to salt for several hours."

Automatic precision salting process with a Bagioni machine
Bagioni states: "In order to solve these problems, we have created a specific machine that can distribute the salt in a completely homogenous manner, in order to obtain a final product of far higher quality." In general, tomato drying takes 40 days and is carried out after mid-July. "With this entirely automatic battery operated equipment, we start by dampening the product with a fine spray of filtered water which is immediately followed by the application of salt. By first spraying water, the salt can then adhere to the product in a more uniform way, so that the quantities used are lower. This helps improve the final result as the uniform application of salt leads to better preservation of the fruit color and a more regular color of the dried tomatoes."

Automatic precision salting process with a Bagioni machine

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