A Longer Marketing Life for Blackberry and Raspberry Fruit

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Caneberries, which include blackberries and raspberries, must be picked when the berries are ripe or nearly ripe to ensure quality. Their thin fruit skin, high respiration rate, and high ethylene production make these berries extremely susceptible to postharvest losses. Although both raspberries and blackberries are considered “soft” fruits, raspberries are slightly more perishable in nature. The raspberry fruit is susceptible to greater moisture loss and fungal infection because of its lack of an outer protective covering (cuticle) and the fact that the raspberry fruit is left with a cavity in the center when detached from the plant.
The producer can expect close to 100 percent loss of salability (marketable quality) within 48 hours of picking if berries are mishandled and not cooled. The shelf life of berries can be shortened by numerous factors, including physical damage during harvest and handling, shriveling from moisture loss, fungal rot, and deterioration due to physiological factors.

Jayesh B. Samtani
Mosbah M. Kushad
Virginia Cooperative Extension