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Completed project

Improved postharvest management of chestnuts - phase 2 (CH14005)

Key research provider: Applied Horticultural Research
Publication date: Thursday, December 24, 2015

What was it all about?

This project monitored temperatures through a number of chestnut supply chains, from farm to wholesale and retail, as well as during shipping to China for processing. A survey was also conducted of chestnut retail displays, price and quality.

The researchers found that chestnuts warmed during packing could take hours or days to cool below 3°C, particularly if they were packed inside a polypropylene bag at the centre of a pallet.

Warming also commonly occurred during transport with chestnut temperatures increasing in five of the six domestic supply chains examined. Temperatures were over 5°C during transport to Brisbane, and averaged 8°C over four days on the way to Perth.

Chestnut temperatures were held close to zero in the long term cool room at the markets wholesaler, but product displayed during market hours, then returned to the cool room each day, showed wide temperature fluctuations.

Temperature control was very effective inside a shipping container during transport to China. While temperature varied between different parts of the container, none of the monitored fruit fell below -1°C and temperatures generally varied by only 1°C.

Quality and price of chestnuts was consistent among supermarkets but variable among independent grocers. While supermarket displays were generally refrigerated, they tended to be small with little visual impact.

In contrast, some of the independent stores were using chestnuts as a prominent seasonal feature. One store in particular had an excellent display at the front of the store and were offering hot roasted chestnuts as well as easy peel and non-easy peel varieties.

From the research it was recommended that the chestnut industry investigate opportunities for retail-ready packaging for chestnuts. This would include information on variety (easy peel or not), preparation and cooking, providing value for retailers.

Related levy funds


This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Chestnut Fund

Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

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