Chill Out: New UF/IFAS Study Shows Why Strawberries Must Keep (Their) Cool

Clint Thompson Florida, Strawberry, Top Posts

File photo shows strawberries harvested and ready for transport.

It is strawberry season in Florida. Odds are any strawberries eaten right now taste oh-so-sweet. Those strawberries consumers see at the grocery store should be shipped and stocked at the right temperature, says a University of Florida (UF) scientist; should being the operative word.

To ensure the fruit is at peak form, you’re not supposed to break what’s referred to as the “cold chain,” says Jeff Brecht, a UF/IFAS horticultural sciences professor and Extension specialist.

The cold chain refers to the food supply chain — from farms to supermarkets — and applies to products that need to be refrigerated. Trucks transport strawberries around the state and across the country, and ensure the product remain cold, Brecht said.

“We tell strawberry shippers and handlers not to break the cold chain because if you allow strawberries to warm up, there’s no practical way to cool them back down,” Brecht said.

When strawberries warm, they lose some of their sugars, vitamins and antioxidants and can bruise and decay more easily, scientists say.

Some grocery stores prefer to display room-temperature strawberries, but those warmer temperatures will often result in strawberries that don’t last as long in consumers’ homes, Brecht said.

For more information, see the UF/IFAS website.