Maturity index & Maturity of Fruits and Vegetables

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Maturity index

The factors for determining the harvesting of fruits, vegetables and plantation crops according to consumer‘s purpose, type of commodity, etc and can be judged by visual means (colour, size, shape), physical means (firmness, softness), chemical analysis (sugar content, acid content), computation (heat unit and bloom to harvest period), physiological method(respiration). These are indications by which the maturity is judged.(Maturity index)

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Various index are as Follows;

1. Visual indices

  • It is most convenient index.
  • Certain signals on the plant or on the fruit can be used as pointers. E.g. drying of top leaves in banana, yellowing of last leaf of Peduncle in jackfruit.
  • Flow of sap from cut fruit stalk of mango slows down if the harvest is done after maturity but in immature fruits, exudation is more and comes with force in a jet form.
  • In papaya, the latex becomes almost watery.
  • The flow gets reduced on maturity in Sapota.
  • In fruits like banana and Sapota, floral ends become more brittle and shed with a gentle touch or even on their own.
  • In Sapota, the brown scurf on the fruit skin starts propping.
  • In mango, lenticels become more prominent and the waxy bloom gradually disappears. Grapes develop translucent bloom.
  • Other changes like angularity in banana, development of creamy wide space between custard apple segments and the flattening of the eyes in pineapple and tubercles in litchi serve as reliable maturity indices.(Maturity index)

2. Seed development

It can also be used as an index of fruit maturity, e.g. endocarp hardening for stone and fiber development for dessert in mango.

3. Start of bud damage

Occasionally it can be used as an index of fruit maturity in mango.

4. Calendar date 

  • For perennial fruit crops grown in seasonal climate which are more or less uniform from year to year, calendar date for harvest is a reliable guide to commercial maturity.
  • This approach relies on a reproducible date for the time of the flowering and a relative constant growth period from flowering through to maturity.
  • Time of flowering is largely dependent on temperature, and the variation in number of days from flowering to harvest can be calculated for some commodities by use of the degree- concept.(Maturity index)

5. Heat units

  • Harvest date of newly introduced fruits in a widely varying climate can be predicted with the help of heat unit.
  • For each cultivar the heat requirement for fruit growth and development can be calculated in terms of degree days. Maturity at higher temperature is faster as the heat requirement is met earlier.
  • This heat unit helps in planning, planting, harvesting and factory programmes for crops such as corn, peas and tomato for processing.

Maturity Of Fruits and Vegetables

Banana: The fruit is harvested when the ridges on the surface of skin change from angularity to round i.e. after the attainment of 3% full stages. Dwarf banana are ready for harvest within 11-14 months after planting while tall cultivars takes about 14-16 months to harvest. Peel colour change from dark green to light green the remaining style ends were dry, and brittle and fruits were less angular in shape.(Maturity index)

Guava: TSS acid ratio, specific gravity and colour are determined the maturity in guava. For e.g.

  • Allahabad safeda – 35.81
  • Apple colour guava – 26.39
  • Chittidar guava – 28.13
  • Lucknow – 49 -34.25
  • Specific gravity – Less than I
  • Colour – Light green to yellow.

Ber: In ber maturity is judged by colour (yellow), specific gravity (less than 1) and TSS

Pomegranate: Sugar percentage should be 12-16% and acid percentage 1.5—2.5%, variety Ganesh harvest when seed colour becomes pink. In this stage TSS 12.5% and sugar acid ratio 19.5%.

Bael: It takes one year for fruiting after flowering. It is the fruit which ripen after one year of flowering. April start harvesting and may end it start in flowering.(Maturity index)

Mango: This can be judged when one or two mangoes ripen on the tree are fall on the ground of their own accord. This process of fallen is known as tapaca specific gravity 1,01—1.02 and TSS 10-14%.

Maturity indices of vegetable crops

Root, bulb and tuber crops Maturity indices
Radish and carrot Large enough and crispy
Potato, onion and garlic Tops beginning to dry and topple clown
Yams, bean and ginger Large enough

Fruits Vegetables

Cowpea, snap bean, sweet pea, winged bean Well filled pods that snap readily
Lima bean and pigeon pea Well filled pods that are beginning to lose their greenness
Okra Desirable size reached and the tips of which can be snapped readily
Snake gourd Desirable size reached and thumbnail can still penetrate flesh readily
Egg plant, bitter gourd, slicing cucumber Desirable size reached but still tender
Tomato Seeds slipping when fruit is cut, or green colour turning pink
Muskmelon Easily separated from vine with a slight twist leaving clean cavity (full slip stage).
Watermelon Dull hollow sound when thumped

Flower Vegetables 

Cauliflower Curd compact
Broccoli Bud cluster compact

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