(190) Sensory Quality and Postharvest Performance of Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars Grown in Southern California

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  • 1 1University of California, Plant Sciences, Davis, CA, 95616
  • | 2 2University of California, UCCE Santa Maria, Santa Maria, CA, 93455
  • | 3 3University of California, UCCE Ventura County, Ventura, CA, 93003-5401
  • | 4 4University of California, UCCE San Diego County, San Diego, CA, 92123-1219

Blueberry fruit were harvested at commercial maturity from variety trials and shipped overnight to UC Davis. Fruit quality was evaluated upon receipt and after 6 and 20 days of cold storage at 0.5 °C in air shelf life. Firmness, external color, soluble solids, and titratable acidity were measured. Sensory evaluations were conducted by trained tasters to rate the blueberries for crispness, mealiness, sweetness, tartness, blueberry flavor, and off-flavors at harvest and again after 21 days of storage. Many of the blueberries increased in firmness during cold storage. Firmness at harvest tended to be softer in `Santa Fe' and `Jewel' and firmer in `Star'. Sensory data also found `Sharpblue' and `Southmoon' to be more firm; however the objective measurements did not agree. Overall, `Saphire' was low in sugars and acids, and `Jewell' and `Star' were high in acids. `Misty' and `Sharpblue' were consistently high in sugars and acids. Overall objective fruit quality ratings were highest for `Misty', `Sharpblue', and `Southmoon', and lowest for `Santa Fe'. Blueberry flavor was rated highest in `Jewell', `Star', and `Sharpblue', and lowest in `Santa Fe', `Saphire', `Misty', and `Emerald'. These data indicate that blueberry flavor may be closely tied to acid content, as most of the high-flavor varieties had high acid and many of the low-flavor varieties had low acid. Over 3 years, the varieties consistently rated highest for overall objective quality were `Misty' and `Southmoon'. `Star' was rated high for overall quality in 2 years and moderate in 1. `Jewell', `Star', and `Sharpblue' were rated highest in flavor. `Santa Fe' was ranked low in flavor quality in 2 out of 3 years. Selection of variety appears to have a strong influence on the sensory quality of the blueberries marketed.

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