Hydrocooling as an Alternative to Forced-air Cooling for Maintaining Strawberry Quality

in HortScience
Authors:
M.D. FerreiraHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, POB 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690.

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J.K. BrechtHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, POB 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690.

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S.A. SargentHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, POB 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690.

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C.K. ChandlerHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, POB 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690.

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`Sweet Charlie' strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) harvested at full ripe stage were 7/8-cooled by forced-air or hydrocooling to 4C, then held with or without a PVC film wrap in one of three storage regimes: 1) 7 days at 1C plus 1 day at 20C; 2) 7 days at 1C plus 7 days at 7C plus 1 day at 20C, or; 3) 7 days at 1C plus 5 days at 15C plus 2 days at 7C plus 1 day at 20C. Quality attributes, including surface color, firmness, weight loss, soluble solids and ascorbic acid content, pH, and titratable acidity, were evaluated after storage. Hydrocooled berries were better in overall quality, with better color retention, less weight loss, and lower incidence and severity of decay compared to forced-air-cooled berries. Strawberries wrapped in PVC film retained better color and had less weight loss and greater firmness, but greater incidence and severity of decay than berries stored uncovered. These results indicate good potential for using hydrocooling as a cooling method for strawberries.

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