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White asparagus is a highly appreciated, high-value crop with a distinguished economic relevance among vegetables. Freshly harvested asparagus is available only during a short part of the year and the demand varies. The produce is perishable and only proper handling can ensure its quality after a reasonable shelf life. In this study, we investigated a new method to reduce one of the most important reasons for quality decline: fresh matter losses. The potential benefits or disadvantages of moist asparagus packaging for unpeeled white asparagus (cv. ‘Gijnlim’) was tested. We used polythene sleeves or bags, lined with cellulose fleece to hold added water for moisturizing. 500 g bunches of spears were filled in the bags. Spears were partly covered by the sleeves or totally covered by the bags. All spears were stored for 3 to 11 days at the temperature of 2°C, 8°C and a combination of 2°C/22°C.The last temperatures were to simulate retail conditions. In wet bags spear fresh weight increased, losses in bags with dry fleece were low. Maintaining of fresh weight in wet bags coincided significantly with higher bending firmness, and lower shear force, which points to less fibrousness. Wet storage also reduced the incidence of dried cut surfaces but promoted the incidence of lengthwise fractures and, in combination with higher temperature, grey-brown discolouration and colour saturation. Wet packaging may be beneficial primarily under low temperature and low air humidity storage conditions.

Brückner, B. 2019. In-package moisture supports quality maintenance of white asparagus. Horticultural Science 46, 153-161.