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APR2 - Flesh firmness measurements for determination of harvest maturity

  • Flesh firmness is not a maturity parameter for inspection.  However, it can be a useful tool to reduce the development of gel breakdown.
  • The recommended flesh firmness as measured with a penetrometer fitted with a plunger of 6mm in diameter is 2.0 kg, to reduce the propensity to limit the development of gel breakdown
  • Start monitoring the firmness of apricots in the orchard at least 10 days prior to the expected harvest date as the correlation between flesh firmness and skin colour may vary from orchard to orchard and year to year
  • Use a representative sample of approximately 20 fruit
  • Remove a thin slice of peel from opposite sides on the centre of the cheeks of each apricot
  • Hold the apricot firmly in one hand and rest your hand on a rigid surface
  • Zero a penetrometer and place the plunger head with a 6.0 mm diameter on the spot where the skin was removed.
  • Apply steady downward pressure on the penetrometer until the plunger has penetrated the flesh of the fruit up to the depth mark line on the plunger
  • Remove the plunger and note the reading on the pene­trometer, to one decimal point
  • Repeat the process on the opposite side of the same apricot after zeroing the penetrometer
  • Determine the average of the two pressure readings for each apricot
  • Record the average firmness readings and relate it to skin colour and/or size as a maturity indicator at harvest
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