Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Trevor V. Suslow and Marita Cantwell
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis
Maturity & Quality
Cauliflowers are selected for size and compactness of the head or curd. Mature curds are at least 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter. Loose or protruding floral parts, creating a ‘ricy’ appearance, are a sign of overmaturity. Cauliflower is packaged after being closely trimmed into single layer cartons of 12 to 24 heads, with 12’s most common.
A firm and compact head of white to cream white curds surrounded by a crown of well-trimmed, turgid green leaves. Additional quality indices are size, freedom from severe yellowing due to sunlight exposure, freedom from handling defects and decay, and an absence of ‘riciness’.
Maturity & Quality Photos
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere
Optimum Relative Humidity
To calculate heat production, multiply ml CO2/kg·hr by 440 to get BTU/ton/day or by 122 to get kcal/metric ton /day.
Cauliflower is highly sensitive to exogenous ethylene. Discoloration of the curd and accelerated yellowing and detachment of wrapper leaf stalks will result from low levels of ethylene during distribution and short-term storage. Do not mix loads such as apples, melons and tomatoes with cauliflower.
Controlled or modified atmospheres offer moderate to little benefit to cauliflower. Injury from low O2 (<2%) or elevated CO2 (>5%) may not be visual and will only be evident after cooking. When the curds become grayish, extremely soft, and emit strong off-odor. Higher levels (>10%) of CO2 will induce this injury within 48 hours. Combined low O2 and slightly elevated CO2 levels (3-5%) delay leaf yellowing and the onset of curd browning by a few days.
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere Photos
Physiological and Physical Disorders
Use of Materials
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How to Cite
Author(s) names. Initial publication or update date (located at the top). Title. Link to the specific Produce Fact Sheet webpage (Accessed date)
Example: Cantwell, M. and T. Suslow. 2002. Lettuce, Crisphead: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality.