Development of an integrated system to rinse, sanitize, and cool fresh-market strawberries

Drew F. Schiavone, Adrian D. Berry, Steven A. Sargent


Strawberries were commercially harvested into clamshells and evaluated for quality after cooling by either forcedair cooling or hydrocooling. Forced-air cooling (FA) was accomplished in commercial cooling tunnels (clamshells in corrugated cartons) for approximately 60 minutes. For hydrocooling (HY), individual clamshells were immersed for 15 minutes in an agitated, ice-water bath with 200 ppm chlorine, briefly drained, then placed in returnable plastic containers (RPCs). Cartons and RPCs were stacked on separate pallets and stored in a commercial cold room for 14 days at 1 °C (34 °F). Whole clamshell subsamples were graded on-site for fresh appearance after 7 and 14 days, and subsamples were transported to the Postharvest Horticulture Laboratory in Gainesville, FL, where fruit was stored overnight at 1 °C for subsequent evaluations (pulp firmness, appearance, marketable berries, soluble solids content and titratable acidity) conducted on days 8 and 15. There was no difference in FA or HY fruit quality under the conditions used in this experiment. These results indicate that HY had no detrimental effect on the fruit quality parameters measured and has the potential to maintain quality and offer a sanitized product that is currently unavailable on the market.

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