Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Maturity & QualityMaturity Indices
Celery is harvested when the overall field reaches the desired marketable size and before the outer petioles develop "pithiness" (see Pith Breakdown below). Celery has very uniform crop growth and fields are harvested only once and stalks are packed by size after trimming outer petioles and leaves.
High quality celery consists of stalks which are well formed, have thick petioles, are compact (not significantly bowed or bulging), have minimal petiole twisting, and have a light green and fresh appearance. Additional quality indices are stalk and midrib length, freedom from defects such as blackheart, pithy petioles, seedstalks, cracks or splits, and freedom from insect damage and decay.
Temperature & Controlled AtmosphereOptimum Temperature
At optimum conditions, celery should have good quality after storage up to 5 to 7 weeks. Commonly, celery is rapidly pre-cooled and then stored at 0 to 2°C (32 to 36°F). If storage is intended to be less than one month, storing celery at 5°C (41°F) is not recommended for more than 2 weeks in order to maintain good visual and sensory quality. Some continued growth of inner stalks will occur postharvest at temperatures >0°C (32°F).
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.
Celery is not very sensitive to exogenous ethylene at low levels and low temperatures. Loss of green color can result from exposure to 10 ppm or higher ethylene concentrations at above 5°C (41°F).
Controlled or modified atmospheres offer moderate benefit to celery. Delayed senescence and decay development have been observed at 2-4% O2 and 3-5% CO2.
Physiological and Physical Disorders
Cut petioles of celery, as for fresh-cut, are very prone to bacterial decay. Less decay and greatly delayed decay symptoms will result from the use of sharp blades, minimizing abrasions or other damage to cut-ends during packaging, and good sanitation.
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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.