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Farmers are instructed to start harvesting of Chillies

Green chillies are picked early in the morning or in the evening. These are protected from the sun to avoid quality deterioration. Ripe fruits are harvested at frequent intervals. Retaining fruits for a long period on the plant causes wrinkles and colour fading. Soon after the harvest, the produce is heaped or kept in clean gunnies for one day for uniform colour development of pods. Sun-drying is necessary to ensure complete dryness. Levelled and compacted floor is made for drying. From the fifth day onwards, the produce is inverted on alternate days so that pods in the lower layers are brought up to ensure quick and uniform drying. To avoid microbial activity and aflatoxin production, the moisture in dried pods need to be brought down to 10 per cent.

Since the produce is exposed to sun for 10-15 days in open yards, it is likely to get contaminated with foreign matter. This also results in poor colour for the product due to the bleaching effect of sun-rays. The produce can be dried within a period of 18 hours by using air drier for maintaining the temperature at 44-46C. The method not only saves time of drying operation but also imparts deep red colour and glossy texture to the produce. Solar drier and tray drier can be used. While drying, the produce is covered with polythene sheets during night to avoid dew deposition and colour fading. Grading is done to remove defective and discoloured pods. Packing is done in gunny bags, or jute boras.

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