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Can you give some guidelines about refrigeration, care & handling of strawberries? |
Strawberry, Temperature Management |
March 2009 |
I need some quick tips on refrigeration, care & handling etc. In particular, can you provide some guidelines for the following statement: if strawberries are left out of refrigeration for X hours, they will deteriorate at a rate of x? (J.G.) |
The key to answering this question is understanding that as temperatures rise so does the produce metabolic activity (including aging reactions) and this metabolic activity can be quantified by measuring a produce items’ respiration rate (i.e. the rate of carbon dioxide production by a commodity). A helpful resource is our Produce Facts which lists the respiration rate of produce items at various temperatures: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality of Strawberry.
From this table you can see that if you store berries at room temperature (68°F) they have a respiration that is 10 times greater (10 vs 100) than if you stored them at 32°F. That means that strawberries are deteriorating (at 68°F) at rate 10 times faster than if they were held at 32°F.
Unfortunately your question as posed can’t be answered. The best equivalent statement I can propose would state that "Strawberries held at room temperature deteriorate at a rate 10X faster than if held in ideal conditions at 32°F). Also, decay incidence and severity is 10 times as fast at 68°F as 32°F.
The shelf-life clock starts ticking the second a strawberry is plucked from the mother plant. How long, in terms of total time, a strawberry has for acceptable shelf-life is dependent on many factors (fruit maturity, variety, growing conditions, etc.). How fast the shelf-life clock clicks down to zero is influenced by the storage temperature. The warmer the storage temperature the faster the shelf-life clock clicks down to zero.
In case of strawberries that rate is 10X times faster at room temperature compared to 32°F. -- Jim Gorny