Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Handling & Processing

Harvesting carambola at different ripeness stages affects postharvest quality

Oren Warren
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2007
  • starfruit,
  • maturity,
  • wax coating


Carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) fruit grows well in southern Florida. The fruit is usually harvested commercially ( at the color break stage, while the fruit is still firm, to minimize mechanical injury. A study was conducted to determine the effect of carambola harvested at three ripeness stages (color break, half yellow, and full yellow) on postharvest quality. Treatments were a commercial carnauba-based wax, three ripeness stages, and either holding for 7 days at 5 C before transferring to 20 C or holding constantly at 20 C in four replications. At full-ripe stage (orange), the nonwaxed fruit typically showed more shriveling at the stem end, had rib softening, and lost about twice as much weight as the waxed fruit; however, the waxed fruit held initially at 5 C, then transferred to 20 C, displayed non-uniform color development and internal tissue browning. Those fruit that were held constantly at 20 C had non-uniform color and fermented flavor. Fruit harvested at the yellow color stage had a higher initial soluble solids content (7.9 Brix) and lower total titratable acidity (0.25%) than the fruit harvested at the color break (6.7 Brix, 0.28% acid) and half yellow stages (7.1 Brix, 0.31% acid). Sugar : acid ratios for these respective harvest stages were: color break 23.3, half yellow 22.6, and full yellow 31.9.