Effect of Frozen Storage and Packing Type on Khalas and Sukkary Dates Quality
The effects of frozen storage time and packing type on physical and chemical quality of dates were assessed. Collected Sukkary and Khalas dates grown in Saudi Arabia, were subjected to storage at -18°C in a frozen storage room. Data of fruit quality were collected at harvest, after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of storage. The results showed that frozen storage and packing type could significantly affect physical and chemical properties of date fruits. Significant differences in fruit size and width due to frozen storage were observed. Physical attributes such as, fruit length, width and date seed weight, were significantly reduced due to frozen storage period. There were significant changes in physical characteristics such as fruit weight and volume among tested cultivars. Storage time showed significant effect on fruit firmness and pH. Packing type significantly affected TSS of Sukkary date. Conversely, packing type had no significant effect in chemical characteristics for Khalas date. Water activity and pH of date fruits decreased during storage period. Color properties of Sukkary date were significantly affected by packing type compared with Khalas. Lightness, redness and yellowness showed significant differences during storage period. Lightness significantly increased during storage time, while redness and yellowness decreased significantly at same conditions. In conclusion, frozen storage may be a viable alternative that allows for long term storage for date fruits.