Nectarines

The Importance of Nectarine Quality Control

Optimizing nectarine quality control is essential for all stakeholders in the fresh produce value chain – from growers and marketing companies, to warehouses, and retailers. By creating a consistent process for nectarine testing and quality control, organizations can optimize profits, avoid price renegotiations, and take the subjectivity out of quality control decisions.

Common Nectarine Defects

The following defects are the ones that are most likely to affect nectarine quality across the supply chain:

Pedicel Tear

The pedicel is the stalk that holds the flower in place on an inflorescence. Lesions often begin at the pedicel end when the harvested fruit has been infected.

Cracked Stone

Irregular periods of rain and drought may result in nectarine split pits or cracked stones. This can attract mold and even constitute a health hazard for the end consumer.

Deformations

A dip in nectarine quality can be caused by a number of things. If your fruit is a strange shape, this could be the result of insects, mold, or disease.

Soft Shoulder

Often, the first place to ripen in nectarines is the shoulder of the fruit. This may cause it to get unpleasantly soft or mushy as the rest of the fruit ripens, especially due to falls and pressure. This may be prevented through the design of special handling equipment and operation guidelines that prevent impact bruises on nectarines.

Low Color

Low color in nectarines can be related to their pH levels or to factors such as weather, irrigation, or shade. External brown and black spots or stripes are usually related to heavy metals, while internal browning can be due to chilling damage.

Healed Wounds

Any kind of wound on a nectarine is a perfect way for Infectious microorganisms to make an entrance. After these wounds heal, the infection often remains.

Stains

Black, blue, brown, or purple spots on nectarines can be the result of contamination, and they are usually only noticed after transit and storage.

Russet

Insect damage and mechanical rubbing are the most common causes of russeting on nectarines, causing an unsightly scarred area.

Sunburn

With the naked eye, it’s hard to tell much about nectarine quality from sunburn alone. It could be simply where the sun hit the fruit or it could be a sign of defoliation or bacteria.

Cracks

Cracks in soft fruit like nectarines usually mean there has been inconsistency in the irrigation. They could also be the result of unseasonal dry weather followed by a lot of rain. While you may not be able to control the weather, you could find ways to minimize the effects of extreme weather changes.

Oidium (Fungus)

Fungi such as powdery mildew, peach leaf curl, and oidium can attack the flowers, leaves and fruit of any crop, quickly destroying a harvest.

Insect Damage

There are dozens of insects that can cause nectarine defects. Think stink bugs, thrips nymphs, and even earwigs, which are commonly associated with nectarine scarring.

Moths

Fruit moths love nectarines! If infested, the fruit will have brown tunnels through them where the insects have bored holes.

Dehydration

When a nectarine plant is either under- or over-watered, it can strongly impact its ability to grow and flourish, and change the way the fruit looks when ripe.

Immature/Over-mature

You can’t always tell when a nectarine is ripe. Sometimes, immaturity or over-maturity can cause the fruit to fall from the tree or damage its appearance.

Bruising

While most customers want a ripe yield, there is more potential for bruising when handling ripe fruit. This can have a direct impact on nectarine quality.

Open Wounds

Open wounds are an open invitation for fungi, insects, and weather damage. Rhizopus fungi, for example, need a wounded fruit to start an infection. Afterwards, it will go on infecting the adjacent fruit (even if they are intact) very easily.

Decay

Leaf curl is a common defect that growers need to look out for. If left ignored, it can even bring down the whole tree. Failure to take hygiene measurements at pre-harvest can lead infectious microorganisms like fungi to prosper and cause decay at post-harvest.

Common Nectarine Attributes for Quality Control

The following internal and external nectarine attributes are commonly used for quality evaluation:

Color

Diameter

Coverage

BRIX

Firmness

For the full list of attributes that the Clarifruit platform currently evaluates and recommended quality standards for each, download our free app now.

The Clarifruit platform also integrates with 3rd-party technology to evaluate external tomato attributes. Learn more here.

Nectarine Growing Seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

HEMISPHERE Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern
Southern

Scroll left to see the growing seasons table

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