Harvesting Tips For Grapes
From the right harvesting time to the correct harvesting technique and post-harvesting measures, there are a number of things you must consider while harvesting grapes. Here are a few tips that will help you get a good harvest.
- TSS and sugar acid ratio: Here TSS means Total Soluble Solids, which is basically sugar content in the fruit. The recommended TSS by AGMARK for grapes is 16°B and sugar acid ratio is 20:1. Now, two berries may have the same sugar content, but it’s not necessary that they will taste the same. If the acid content is higher, the berries will taste sour. A refractometer is used to measure TSS.
- Physical appearance: Uniform color and size are two of the parameters to judge the ripeness of grapes. Not all grapes mature at the same time. For example, bunches exposed to sunlight mature earlier than ones in the shade.
- Time: Bunches should be harvested during the early morning hours, before the berries’ temperature rises above 20°C. Harvesting during high temperature leads to loss of more weight and pedicle desiccation.
- The dew factor: If there’s been heavy dew during the night, it is recommended to wait for 3-4 days before harvesting, as the moisture can cause fungal infections.
- Harvesting method: A day prior to picking, use a pair of long-nosed scissors to remove decayed, deformed, undersized, and discolored berries. Make sure you don’t hurt other berries during the process! Don’t hold the cluster against a naked palm, and wear rubber gloves. In addition, the grapes should be held by their stalk to protect the fine wax coating. Hand harvest is recommended, as it ensures proper care while harvesting, proper selection of fruits and minimum capital investment.
- Storage: Use clean, perforated plastic crates to store grapes. Use clean bubble sheets for cushioning and keep the crates on a newspaper to avoid dust. Avoid multilayer storage as it may cause physical damage and decay. Remove damaged or heat affected berries carefully with a pair of long-nosed scissors before packing.
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