In today's Curious Cook column I write about a simple hot-water treatment that slows the spoilage of berries fresh from the market.
The treatment goes back to research done at the Fresno, California station of the USDA in the 1960s. It's been widely studied since then as an option for fruit producers and distributors, but no one seems to have told consumers about it.
The term "thermotherapy" appears in Portuguese and English in a paper from Brazil about the fruits of Spondias mombin, a mango and cashew relative known by many names, including "hog plum."
Couey, H.M. and M.N. Follstad. Heat pasteurization for control of postharvest decay in fresh strawberries. Phytopathology 1966, 56: 1345-47.
Karabulut, O.A. et al. Control of postharvest diseases of organically grown strawberries with preharvest applications of some food additives and postharvest hot water dips. J. Phytopathology 2004, 152: 224-28.
deBrito, C.H. et al. Thermotherapy for post harvest pathogens on Spondias fruits. Acta Scientiarum-Agronomy, 2008. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Thermotherapy for post harvest pathogens on Spondias...-a0193756598
Fan, L. et al. Effect of hot water treatments on quality of highbush blueberries. Journal of Food Science 2008, 73(6):M292-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00838.x
Vicente, A.R. et al. Maintenance of fresh boysenberry fruit quality with UV-C light and heat treatments combined with low storage temperatures. J. Horticultural Sci. Biotechnology 2004, 79: 246-51.
Adegoroye, A.S. and P.A. Joliffe. Initiation and control of sunscald injury of tomato fruit. J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 1983, 108:23-28.