Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/17/2008
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Saftner, R.A., Polashock, J.J., Ehlenfeldt, M.K., Vinyard, B.T. 2008. Instrumental and sensory quality characteristics of blueberry fruit from twelve cultivars. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 49:19-26. Interpretive Summary: Fresh market blueberry sales have increased steadily in the last few years. Very little information is available regarding consumer preferences for blueberry fruit from various commercial cultivars. In this paper, we report that blueberry consumers most liked the appearance, texture, flavor and overall eating quality of two early season highbush cultivars (Coville and Hannah’s Choice) and scored two other highbush cultivars (Elliott and Weymouth) and two rabbiteye cultivars (Coastal and Montgomery) lowest for these same sensory characteristics. None of the instrumental fruit quality measurements adequately predicted consumer preferences. This information will be of use to the fresh market blueberry industry and to postharvest scientists for evaluating the quality of and for predicting consumer preferences for blueberry fruit from various commercial cultivars.
Technical Abstract: We compared the instrumental and sensory quality characteristics of blueberry fruit from ten highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) cultivars, Chanticleer, Weymouth, Hannah’s Choice, Duke, Bluecrop, Coville, Berkeley, Bluegold, Elliott and Lateblue) and two rabbiteye (Vaccinium virgatum Aiton) cultivars, Coastal and Montgomery, grown in New Jersey. Cultivars varied in sensory intensity and acceptability scores. Highbush cultivars, Coville and Hannah’s Choice, scored highest among the cultivars in sensory scores for intensity of blue color, juiciness, sweetness and blueberry-like flavor and for acceptability of appearance, color, fruit size, sweet/tart balance, flavor and overall eating quality. In contrast, rabbiteye cultivars, Coastal and Montgomery, and the highbush cultivars, Elliott and Weymouth, scored lowest among the cultivars in sensory scores for intensity of bursting energy, skin toughness, texture during eating, juiciness, and blueberry-like flavor and for acceptability of appearance, color, fruit size, flavor and overall eating quality. Analytical quality characteristics of surface color, size, compression firmness, soluble solids content (SSC), pH, titratable acidity (TA), SSC/TA ratio, and aromatic volatile concentration also varied among cultivars, but no instrumental measurement adequately predicted consumer acceptability scores. The overall eating quality of blueberry fruit was best correlated with flavor intensity and flavor acceptability scores followed by sensory scores for intensity of juiciness, bursting energy intensity and sweetness and for acceptability of appearance.