Table 16: Handling Produce for Higher Quality and Longer Market Life

Table 16: Handling Produce for Higher Quality and Longer Market Life1

  Recommended Cooling Methods2 Important Handling Factors
Vegetable Crop Forced Air or Room Cooling Hydro-Cooling Package Ice or Liquid Icing Vacuum Cooling Transit Icing3 Recommended Transit & Storage Temp. Degrees F 4 Recommended Transit & Storage Rel. Humidity, % Expected Marketable Life Under Best Conditons Sensitivity to Chilling Injury 5
Asparagus   +   + N 32-36 95 1-2 weeks L
Basil +       N 46-50 90-95 4-7 days H
Beans, lima in pod + +     N 38-42 90-95 7-10 days M
  snap + +     N 40-45 90-95 7-10 days M
Beets, bunched   +     R 32   1-2 weeks I
Broccoli     +   E 32 90-95 1-2 weeks I
Brussels sprouts + + + + R 32 90-95 3-5 weeks I
Cabbage +       N 32 90-95 3-6 weeks I
Cabbage, Chinese +   + + R 32 90-95 4-8 weeks I
Carrots, Topped +   +   N 32 90-95 6-7 months L
Carrots, bunched +   +   E 32 90-95 1 month I
Cauliflower +   + + R 32 90-95 2-4 weeks I
Celery   +     R 32 90-95 2-3 weeks I
Collards & kale   + +   R 32 90-95 1-2 weeks I
Cucumbers + +     N 50 90-95 1-2 weeks H
Eggplant +       N 50 90-95 1 week H
Endive & escarole       + R 32 90-95 2-3 weeks I
Kohlrabi + + +   R 32 90-95 2-4 weeks I
Horseradish +       N 30-32 90-95 1 year I
Leeks   + + + R 32 90-95 1-3 months I
Lettuce, crisphead       + N 32-36 95 2-3 weeks I
   leaf & bibb     + + R 32-36 95 1 week I
   romaine       + R 32-36 95 1-2 weeks I
Muskmelon, 3/4 slip +   +   R 36-40 85-90 1-2 weeks M
   full slip +   +   R 32-36 85-90 4-7 days M
Okra   +     N 45-50 95 1 week VH
Onion, dry         N 32 65-70 1-8 months I
   green   + +   N 32 90-95 7-10 days I
Parsley   + +   E 32 95 1-2 months I
Parsnips +       N 32 90-95 2-6 months I
Peas   + +   E 32 90-95 1-2 weeks I
Peppers +     + N 45-50 90-95 2-3 weeks M
Potatoes, early +       N 40 90 2-4 months L
   late +       N 40-45 90 5-8 months L
Pumpkins         N 50-55 70-75 2-3 months H
Radishes, bunched   + +   E 32 95 1-2 weeks L
Rhubarb   + +   R 32 95 3-4 weeks I
Rutabagas +       N 32 95 2-4 months I
Spinach   + + + E 32 90-95 7-10 days I
Squash, summer + +     N 50 90-95 4-7 days H
   winter +       N 55-60 50-75 2-6 months M
Strawberries +       N 32 95 1 week I
Sweet potatoes +       N 55-60 85-90 3-5 months VH
Sweet corn + + +   E 32 90-95 5-7 days L
Tomatoes, green +       N 55-70 85-90 1-3 weeks H
   pink +       N 50-60 85-90 5-10 days M
   ripe +       N 40-45 85-90 4-7 days M
Turnips +       N 32 95 4-5 weeks I
Turnip/mustard tops   + + + E 32 90-95 1-2 weeks I
Watermelons +       N 45-50 85-90 3-4 weeks M

1 Information on optimum temperatures, relative humidity and storage life was adapted from USDA Handbook 66 and modified by experience under northeastern conditions.

2 Cooling Method: + = cooling method is suitable for the crop.

3 Transit Icing: The importance of transit icing depends on time in transit, transit conditions, and outside temperature. N = not recommended, R = recommended, and E = essential.

4 Accurate temperature control is essential; do not allow temp to fall below 32 degrees F

5 Sensitivity to Chilling Injury: I = not sensitive, L = low sensitivity, M = medium sensitivity, H = high sensitivity, and VH = very high sensitivity.