Navel orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] was exposed to moist, forced air at 46 °C for up to 4.5 hours or 50 °C for 2 hours, or immersed for 3 hours in water at 46 °C. Quality attributes of heated and nonheated fruit were compared after 4 weeks of storage at 7 °C and 1 week at 23 °C. The flavor of oranges immersed in water was rated significantly inferior to fruit heated in air and fruit that were not heated. Oranges immersed in hot water also developed a higher incidence of decay during storage than oranges heated in air or nonheated control fruit. The flavor of oranges exposed to moist, forced air at 46 °C for up to 4.5 hours was rated by preference panelists as similar to nonheated controls, even though heated fruit had a significantly lower amount of titratable acidity and a higher ratio of sugar to acid. Fruit exposed to high-temperature forced air developed less decay during subsequent storage than nonheated control fruit. Texas `N33' navel oranges tolerated exposure to forced air at 46 °C for up to 4.5 hours without deleterious effects on fruit market quality.
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