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Extending Postharvest Life of Fresh Fruit:

Harvest at the Right Time

Tim Motis and Stacy Swartz


Learn to recognize maturity stages of the fruit you are growing. Maturity tests can be categorized as destructive or nondestructive. Destructive tests are those that damage or destroy the fruit being tested. An example of a destructive test is flesh color, because one must cut into the fruit to determine the color of the flesh inside. Visual indicators like fruit size, shape, and skin color are nondestructive. You do not have to destroy a tomato to see a change from green to red. No single test works well for every fruit-bearing species. For the crop(s) you are working with, find out which tests are most reliable for determining fruit maturity. Of those, select one or two that you can implement in your context.

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