The Use of Cooling and Cold Storage to Stabilize and Preserve Fresh Stone Fruits
Temperature management is a vital part of the postharvest handling system for stone fruits. Rapid cooling and low temperature holding are important for protecting the physiological health of these fruits, slowing the spread and growth of fruit rotting fungi, slowing the rate of water loss and thus delaying the onset of fruit shrivel, and minimizing the harmful effects of mechanical injuries on the fruits. The opportunities for long distance marketing of stone fruits in world markets requires that careful attention be given to good temperature management. Changes in fruit handling procedures, especially the trend toward bulk handling, have often rendered older cooling methods ineffective, but newer methods, including hydrocooling and forced-air cooling, can provide rapid cooling and good fruit temperature protection when used properly. Effective temperature management during cold storage includes attention to the refrigeration system and its controls, design and insulation of the storage structure, and management of the storage operations.