Determination of optimum storage conditions for 'Baby' summer squash fruit (Cucurbita pepo )

Betty S. Brew, Adrian D. Berry, Steven A. Sargent, Nicole L. Shaw, Daniel J. Cantliffe

Abstract


There are many types of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo), with a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors. Summer squashes are harvested at immature stages as opposed to winter types that are harvested fully mature. While the lowest safe storage temperature for larger summer squash is 5C, sensitivity of baby squash has not been reported. Tests were conducted using 'baby' yellow crooked-neck summer squash (cv. Sunray). Fruits were harvested prior to and just after bloom opening, with lengths ranging from 6 to 10 cm. Blooms were removed and fruits were placed in non-vented, polystyrene clamshell containers and stored at 5, 7 and 10C for 14 days. To accelerate development of chilling injury, fruits were transferred to 20C for 24 hours after 7 and 14 days of storage. Chilling injury symptoms included surface pitting, external and internal tissue discoloration, water soaking, and decay. Based on subjective quality rating scales, fruits stored at 10C had the best quality after 7 days of storage plus 24 hours at 20C compared with those stored at 5 and 7C; treatment at 7C resulted in the poorest quality. Respiration rates were 41, 47, 52, and 150 mg kg-1 h-1 CO2 for fruits stored at 5, 7, 10, and 20C, respectively, for the first day of storage. The purpose of this test was to determine the optimum storage conditions for baby yellow summer squash.

Keywords


Cucurbita pepo; chilling injury; yellow summer squash; storage

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283