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Pre-washing, Adding Edible Coating, Significantly Improves Shelf Life Of Blueberries

October 5, 2010: 08:54 AM EST

U.S. researchers have discovered that pre-washing and applying an edible protective coating to fresh blueberries prior to packing and storage extends their shelf life. The scientists believe that by doing that, new markets will open up for the popular Oregon crop. Besides enhancing quality and extending storage capabilities, scientists say the edible coatings used on two varieties, Duke and Elliott, also slow decay and water loss after washing. The process, tested over two years, involves a wash with chlorinated water, and then a dip in one of five edible coatings (Semperfresh, acid-soluble chitosan, water-soluble chitosan, calcium caseinate and sodium alginate). Fresh untreated, unwashed blueberries typically last from one to eight weeks depending on several factors like ripeness at harvest and storage conditions. Washing the berries speeds deterioration.

"Edible coatings slow rot, increase shelf life in pre-washed fresh blueberries", Oregon State Univesity College of Agricultural Sciences, October 05, 2010, © Oregon State University
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