Fresh-cut sweetcorn kernels

Gamal S. Riad, Jeffrey K. Brecht


Introduction and popularity of supersweet sweetcorn has enabled the sweetcorn distribution chain to be extended up to 3 weeks using optimum handling practices compared with 5-10 days for normal sweetcorn. Given the inherently longer shelf life of modern sweetcorn cultivars, we examined the potential for handling fresh-cut sweetcorn kernels. We tested the effects of storage temperature (1 vs. 5°C), maturity stage, and controlled atmosphere (air vs. 2% O2 plus 10 or 20% CO2) on the shelf life of fresh-cut kernels, and also their quality after cooking (i.e., boiling). Fresh-cut sweetcorn kernels are extremely perishable, with a very high respiration rate, thus, temperature control during preparation and handling is criti cal. With proper sanitation, cut kernels did not show any signs of microbial growth even when stored for 10 days at 5°C. Rather, shelf life was limited by loss of flavor. The most important problem with fresh-cut sweetcorn is brown discoloration of the kernels after cooking. The discoloration after cooking was greater in more mature kernels and appeared only after 5°C air storage, but did not occur in cut kernels stored in air or CA for up to 10 days at 1°C. Controlled atmospheres also reduced fresh-cut sweetcorn respiration and maintained higher sugar levels after 10 days at 1°C.

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