Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality

Maturity and Quality

Maturity Indices

Tamarillos reach horticultural (commercial) maturity at 21-24 weeks after anthesis, depending on cultivar and production area. Attainment of full red or yellow color (that is characteristic of the cultivar) is the primary maturity index. A minimum soluble solids content of 10% may also be used.

Quality Indices
  • Tamarillos must be harvested as close to full-ripeness as possible to assure good flavor for the consumer
  • The average content of total sugars (sucrose + glucose + fructose) is 6% and of total acids (mainly citric acid) is 1.8% (fresh weight) in a ripe tamarillo fruit, which explains its acidic (sour) taste
  • Size, shape and color uniformity, freedom from defects and decay
Optimum Temperature

3-4°C (37-39°F)
Storage potential = 6-10 weeks.

Rates of Respiration

10-12ml CO2/kg·hr at 20°C (68°F); non-climacteric respiratory pattern.
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.

Responses to Ethylene

Ethylene treatment hastens senescence and stimulates respiration rate but does not improve eating quality of tamarillo fruits.

Optimum Relative Humidity


Rates of Ethylene Production

Less than 0.1 µl/kg·hr at 20°C (68°F).

Responses to Controlled Atmospheres (CA)

No published information.

Physiological and Physical Disorders

Chilling Injury. Symptoms include brown discoloration, surface pitting, and increased susceptibility to decay. The minimum safe temperature is 3-4°C (37-39°F), depending on cultivar and storage duration.

Pathological Disorders
  • Bitter rot, caused by Glomerella cingulata (Stonem.), is the main postharvest disease of tamarillos
  • An effective preharvest integrated pest management program greatly reduces postharvest decay problems
  • A hot water dip at 50ºC (122ºF) for 8 minutes effectively controls quiescent infections by Colletotrichum spp