Evaluating Quality Attributes of Four Fresh Fig (Ficus carica L.) Cultivars Harvested at Two Maturity Stages
The effect of two fruit maturity stages on the quality attributes of four fresh fig cultivars was examined, including consumer acceptance and antioxidant capacity. Fig quality attributes such as weight, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), SSC:TA, firmness, antioxidant capacity, and consumer acceptance varied by cultivar. Fig cultivars harvested at the advanced maturity stage (‘‘tree ripe’’) had lower TA and firmness but higher weight, SSC, and SSC:TA than figs harvested at ‘‘commercial maturity.’’ Fig maturity did not affect antioxidant capacity, but tree ripe figs had higher consumer acceptance than commercial maturity figs. SSC was more highly correlated with consumer acceptance than TA or SSC:TA, but other factors may also be important in controlling this relationship. Cultivars with high SSC and firmness, at a maturity stage high enough to tolerate harvesting and postharvest handling, should be selected to develop the fresh fig industry. Because fig firmness is a concern, changes to packaging should be evaluated to protect the flavor of advanced maturity figs during postharvest handling.