Shelf life of cauliflower in different packages stored under two temperature regimes

H. Larsen, S.F. Hagen
In Norway today, cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis) is not packaged before distribution and sales in grocery stores. Unpackaged cauliflower heads are prone to weight loss giving rubbery texture, loose florets and yellow and withered leaves. The aim of this work was to evaluate the performance of three different packaging materials for cauliflower with unpackaged product as control. Quality and shelf life was evaluated during 16 days of storage in darkness at 4°C (“Cold storage”) or 4 days in darkness at 4°C + 3 days in light at 19°C + 9 days in darkness at 4°C (“Realistic storage”). The different packages were 1: polypropylene (PP) flowpack film with 40 needle perforations (“Low-perf”), 2: PP flowpack film with a row of 560 needle perforations per 10×10 cm in the middle (“High-perf”) and 3: polyethylene cling film (“Cling”). The weight loss was 10% for unpackaged cauliflower and below 1% for the packaged products stored at cold conditions for 16 days. At “Realistic storage” conditions, weight loss was 19% for unpackaged cauliflowers, 2.6% for the “High-perf” film and below 1% for the “Low-perf” film and the “Cling” film. “Realistic storage”, including 3 days at room temperature, had the highest effect on development of black spots (mold) on the cauliflower heads, whereas limited effect was found for the different packaging materials on black spot development. Packaged cauliflower had firmer heads and better leaf quality than unpackaged samples. Cauliflower may benefit from packaging in order to inhibit weight loss and quality degradation, but packaged products stored for a short period at room temperature have increased risk of black spot development. Cold display in the grocery shops will give the best quality and longest shelf life for both packaged and unpackaged cauliflower.
Larsen, H. and Hagen, S.F. (2020). Shelf life of cauliflower in different packages stored under two temperature regimes. Acta Hortic. 1275, 207-214
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1275.29
Brassica oleraceae L. var. botrytis, abused temperature, packaging materials, perforations, weight loss, quality degradation

Acta Horticulturae