Post Harvest Treatment Effects on Crown-Cut Broccoli Shelf Life
The effects of packaging treatments, post harvest cooling delay and storage duration on color, texture, ascorbic acid content, weight loss and glucosinolate retention in crown-cut heads of broccoli were studied. Oxygen and CO2 levels inside shrink wrap packages were also monitored. Shrink wrap packaging had a significant positive effect on hue angle (p<0.05). Packaging and post harvest cooling delay had no effect on hue difference and total color difference. While post harvest cooling delay had no effect on texture, crown-cut heads of broccoli stored in shrink wrap packaging retained firmness significantly better than ice packaged heads of broccoli (p<0.05). Ascorbic acid was retained better in broccoli held in shrink wrap packages and cooling delay had a significant negative influence on ascorbic acid content (p<0.05). Packaging and post harvest cooling delay had a significant positive effect on weight loss (p<0.05). Broccoli stored in shrink wrap film lost about 3.7% of original weight while ice packaging resulted in about 17.4% weight loss (p<0.05). No consistent trends were observed in the levels of O2 and CO2 inside shrink wrap packages. An important glucosinolate, glucoraphanin was retained significantly better in shrink wrapped heads (p<0.05). Between two cultivars, shelf life of cv.Gypsy was better than cv.Everest with respect to color, ascorbic acid retention and weight loss. But cv.Everest retained texture (firmness) better after 35 days of storage. Overall results indicate that shrink wrap packaging and shorter post harvest cooling delays protect quality of broccoli.