Handling after harvest
Cultivars not prone to develop woolliness
- Ideally these nectarine cultivars should be picked and packed on the same day and cooled to -0.5 °C as soon as possible after packing.
- If this is not possible picking lugs / bins must be placed in a cold store at -0.5 °C before packing. However, this is not advisable as condensation will develop on the fruit during subsequent packing and this can lead to decay.
- Half pallets should be cooled to between 3 °C and -0.5 °C with forced-air cooling, built up to full pallets the following day and cooled to -0.5 °C immediately. The half pallet should only be removed from the cold store once enough cartons are available to complete the pallet.
Cultivars prone to develop woolliness
- Ideally these nectarine cultivars should be picked and packed on the same day.
- If fruit cannot be packed on the harvest day it should preferably not be cooled to -0.5 °C before packing (maturity permitting) as this will prolong the pre-conditioning process if utilized. Field-heat removal by placing the lugs / bins at 15 °C is recommended in this case.
- After packing fruit should be pre-conditioned to the required flesh firmness (refer to woolliness [NE5] and forced-air cooled to -0.5 °C immediately upon reaching the desired flesh firmness.
- After packing, nectarines should be cooled with forced-air cooling to the target pulp temperature of -0.5 °C within 12 to 24 hours. Care must be taken not to cool the fruit to lower than -0.5° C as freezing damage can occur.
- Pallets should be grouped as far as possible to ensure that tunnels consist of the same carton/pack types to ensure effective cooling.
- Upon reaching the target temperature, forced-air cooling should be terminated by removing the pallets from the cooling tunnels or by switching off the cooling fan. Prolonged exposure to forced-air cooling can lead to unnecessary moisture loss since air movement over the fruit is one of the driving forces of moisture loss.
The maximum pulp temperature at loading is 1.5 °C.
Nectarines must be shipped using the D05 carrying temperature regime (-0.5 °C for the full duration of the voyage).
The fresh air ventilation in integral containers is closed and in conventional decks the CO2 concentrations are maintained below 0.5%.
It is recommended that void plugs are used in containers to block off the openings on the container floor at the door. This will improve cooling in the container.