Production and postharvest quality maintenance of single unit and bunching broccoli in Virginia
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The objectives of this research were to produce single unit broccoli, and to examine vacuum and shrink-film wrapping of single unit and bunching broccoli as alternatives to the standard post harvest practice of top icing in order to preserve post harvest quality attributes: vitamin C, color, odor, and turgidity.
Broccoli cv. 'Symphony' was direct seeded and transplanted at two sites in Virginia (within row spacing 20 cm , .9 m centered, 3 row bed). Single unit broccoli was classified as broccoli with head diameters greater than or equal to 20 cm (i.e., equivalent to one bunch of broccoli). Single unit and bunching broccoli for post harvest experimentation was vacuum or shrink-film wrapped with plastic film wraps of varying gauges. The broccoli was held in cold storage from 12 to 22 days with no supplemental ice. Single unit broccoli was produced successfully at one site only. The yields, however, were a fraction of total bunching broccoli yields. There was no significant difference in marketable yields with either planting method (direct seeded vs transplanting) at site 2. Transplants, however, out yielded the direct seeded broccoli at site 1. Vacuum and shrink-film wrapping proved to be very effective in preserving organoleptic attributes of single unit and bunching broccoli even when never receiving ice. Vitamin C and chlorophyll retention were not influenced by wrapping.
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