Effects of Prestorage Heat Treatment on Ripening, Firmness and Sensory Quality of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L) Fruits
Much work on heat treatment of fruits targeted decay control without investigating the effect of the heat on ripening, firmness and sensory quality. Hence, this research work is designed to investigate the effects of heat treatment on these post-harvest traits of cucumber fruits. A set of disinfected cucumber fruits were separately treated with Hot Water (HW) and hot air (HA) at 40/50°C for 10, 20, 30 minutes. Untreated fruits served as control. Both fruits were then stored in sterilized desiccators at 28 ± 2°C and 75 ± 5% RH and observed daily for peel color change while firmness and sensory quality observed by day 40 in storage. Generally, 100% greenness indicated by peel color values between 1.00 ± 0.000 and 1.67 ± 0.333 was observed by day 40 in storage for fruits treated with HW at 40°C-10 mins, 40°C-30mins and 50°C- 20 mins, HA at 40/50oC for 20 mins. Besides, these treated fruits were firmer and more accepted (higher scores) than the control. Therefore, HW treatments at 40°C - 10mins, 40°C-30mins and 50°C-20 mins and HA treatments at 40 / 50oC-20 mins harvest proved most effective in retaining the complete greenness of the fruits with overall sensory acceptability till day 40 in storage and could thus be recommended for treating and extending the shelf life of the fruits after harvest.