University of California

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Tips and procedures to evaluate quality of stored and minimally processed fruits and vegetable using sensory testing

Anne Plotto (USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce, FL), Jinhe Bai (USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce, FL), Elizabeth Baldwin (USDA-ARS. Fort Pierce, FL), Jan Narciso (USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce FL), Maria-Teresa Blanco-Diaz (IFAPA, Almeria, Spain), Libin Wang (Nanjing Agric. Univ., Nanjing, China)

Sensory evaluation is primarily used by food companies in product development and prior to marketing. It has also been adopted by the horticultural research community as an additional measure of produce quality upon pre- and postharvest treatments. With fresh-cut fruits, maturity of the product at processing time, sanitation, packaging and storage can all affect appearance and flavor. Sensory tests are designed to evaluate processing and fruit variables. Example of recent research at the USDA-ARS will be given: maturity and storage effect on flavor of new blueberry cultivars, postharvest heat treatments on stored grapefruit, edible coatings on fresh-cut zucchinis, etc. In some cases, when an unexpected sensory quality was observed due to a specific treatment, additional analytical measurements were warranted to understand the underlying effect of such treatment.

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