In the wake of controversy over the sale of immature Kinnow fruits in Abohar Mandi (as per the newspaper reports), the experts of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have advised the Kinnow growers and traders to focus on the future of this premium fruit, and harvest and market the fruit only when it reached the appropriate maturity.
Dr HS Rattanpal, Head, Department of Fruit Science, disclosed: “The University has always recommended that the Kinnow fruit attains optimum edible quality in terms of sugar and acid ratio during January-February.”
Dr Gurteg Singh, Principal Fruit Scientist, said: “Kinnow mandarin is the ‘King’ of fruits in Punjab, with most of the fruit area in the state being occupied by this fruit. It takes 9 to 10 months from fruiting to harvest, depending on soil, climate and management practices.” About its maturity, he observed:
“A reliable indicator of the ripeness of Kinnow fruit is the ratio of total soluble solids (TSS) to acid. According to this indicator, the fruit is ready for harvest when the ratio of TSS and acid in the surrounding and internal parts of the fruit reaches 12:1 and 14:1, respectively. This harvest standard is achieved by fruits in the period from mid-January to mid-February under Punjab conditions. However, this may change for several days depending on weather conditions.”
Referring to immature fruit, Dr Singh warned: “When Kinnow fruit is harvested unripe, it develops very high acidity and low sugar content, which affects the quality and flavor of the fruit. Moreover, harvesting and selling unripe fruits, in the current long-distance marketing and export scenario, may result in tarnishing the reputation of the palatability, taste and aroma of our ‘King’ fruit.”