Betel nut (Betel catechu L.) is known by several names in Indonesia, including Pineung (Aceh), Pining (Batak Toba), Jambe (Java), and Bua (Maluku). In Hindi this fruit is called Supari, but in Malay it is called Adakka or Adekka, in Sri Lanka it is called Puvak, If in Thailand and China they call it Mak and Pin-lang respectively. This plant grows and is widespread in various regions, such as India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and other Asian countries, both individually and between populations.
Betel nut Indonesia (Betel catechu) has long been known as an effective alternative or herbal medicine for health and beauty. so that many have cultivated this plant. As a plant that belongs to the Arecaceae or palm tribe, cultivation of areca nut is quite easy. This plant can be cultivated from overripe fruit. Even though it is easy to cultivate this plant, there are several aspects that need attention, such as: soil conditions, rainfall and humidity. Areca nut can grow well at temperatures of 20-30 degrees Celsius. Areca nut also requires sufficient sunlight, which is between six to eight hours.
Betel nut harvesting is the activity of collecting and picking areca nut products. According to the Plantation Research and Development Center, harvesting can be done in two ways depending on the desired areca nut product needs, namely, harvesting ripe fruit or picking young fruit. Fruit that is ready to be harvested is marked by the color of the skin, which is greenish yellow or orange. Harvesting can be done every month by rotating several groups of plants.
The ripeness level of betel nut can be seen according to the color category, green color with soft skin and hard shell indicates that the fruit is still unripe, while orange fruit with supple skin and contains more liquid indicates that the fruit is ripe. while the fruit is brown and has coarse fiber, meaning the fruit is overripe.
Betel nut Production in Indonesia begins with splitting the betel nut. Workers usually use a knife or machete and a splitting tool with a capacity of splitting 20-25 pieces per minute, after which the areca nut is dried in the sun. After drying, the fruit is removed from the skin that is still attached, then the seeds are peeled and dried again to reduce the water content. There are two types of betel nut cutting techniques, namely manual cutting techniques using a knife or machete or automatic cutting techniques using a machine. Meanwhile, there are two drying techniques for betel nuts, namely manual drying by drying the betel nuts in the sun and drying techniques with an automatic oven.
The post-harvest objective is to produce a crop that meets applicable national standards. The initial step before processing areca nut after harvest is to harvest. Harvesting done at the right time will produce quality fruit. Product transportation is a process carried out to move crops from the garden to the next processing place, both in the drying and storage areas.
Drying is a food technological process used for preservation. Another advantage of drying is that it can reduce the volume and weight of the material compared to the initial conditions before drying, thereby saving space. The drying mechanism is that hot air is blown over the wet food, heat is transferred to the surface and the air pressure difference created by the hot flow forces water from between the cells and evaporates
The technique of drying the areca nut in an oven using hot air, and the experimental results using the Areca fruit Dryer Experimental Design method show that at 45°C, a drying time of 16 hours can produce perfectly dry fruit and perfectly dry fruit skin. easy to remove while blowing with hot air. Speed at speed level 2 2533 rpm, is a good speed because at this speed level, the heating temperature is more stable.
The drying process is an indispensable process, especially to maintain the Betel nut Quality. Drying is usually done to reduce the water content stored in the Betel nut. This action prevents the appearance of mold which damages the quality of the fruit. After drying, processed products are usually stored for a certain period of time. When storing betel nut, you should pay attention to the water content, namely with the lowest possible water content.
Betel nut has good quality, namely not moldy, bright color, and seed integrity which is affected by handling after harvest. To get the best quality Betel nut to be exported, it is usually dried for 5 days, then dried in a dryer/oven for 12 hours until the moisture content is 3%. foreign adhering to clean. Betel nuts from candied fruit are separated manually, resulting in a weight loss of about 10%.
To determine the quality of Betel nut Indonesia can be done by sorting or grading, resulting in two quality classes, namely premium and standard. Sorting is an important activity in preparing for the export of split a nuts, where this activity will classify the quality of split betel nuts into good quality or lalee quality (poor quality). Good betel nut seeds have a low water content so they can be more easily synthesized into medicine. with maintained quality, it will be exported to various countries.