Influence of Maturity Stage on Fruit Quality during Storage of ‘Earli Grande’ Peaches
Peach is a perishable fruit and to ensure the highest fruit quality peaches must be harvested at an appropriate stage of maturity. In the present study, effect of maturity stage at harvest and cold storage on the physical and chemical characteristics of peaches ‘Earli Grande’ were determined. The fruits for storage were harvested at three stages i.e. before, during and after predictable optimum harvest stage and kept in cold store at 0-20C and 85-90% relative humidity for a period of 21 days and at ambient conditions (28-300C, 65-70% RH) for 72 h. The fruits were evaluated for quality parameters at harvest and after 7, 14 and 21 days of storage. The post-cold storage ambient shelf-life was studied after 3 days to assess the market behavior of fruits. During investigation period fruit quality parameters changed according to stage of harvest. An increase in the spoilage, physiological loss in weight, TSS: acid ratio, anthocyanins was observed with the advancement of maturity and storage period. In contrast, Vitamin A content followed a linear decline with storage and advancement of maturity stages. There was a gradual decrease in reducing sugars of the fruits picked after optimum maturity with increase in storage period. Fruits harvested at optimum stage retained maximum TSS:Acid ratio and palatability rating during post-storage shelf life of three days at ambient temperature after cold storage of 21 days. Results revealed that peach fruits harvested at optimum stage can be stored for three weeks in cold store with post-storage shelf life of three days at ambient temperature.
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