Pitting or superficial depression in cherries (Postharvest problems)

Cherries damaged by the effect of pitting or surface depression after postharvest, Pitting in cherriesOne of the common problems that arise after the postharvest of cherries and storage in cold rooms is the pitting or superficial depression. The appearance of the cherry is essential to achieve good sale pricesin the market and these dents are the perfect excuse to lower prices.

It must be taken into account that pitting problems not only occur once the cherry has been harvested, the cherry on the tree is also naturally exposed to impacts and friction. This can happen due to weather conditions of intense wind or small hailstone impacts.

What is cherry pitting or superficial depression?

Pitting is damage that occurs internally in the cherry due to impacts or compression forces that over time cause small depressions appreciable on the surface of the cherry fruits.

Mechanical damage causes breakage and damage that increases respiration rate and causes volume reduction in the area. Although not immediately noticeable, after several days at room temperature they may begin to be seen. Storing the cherry in a cold room will help to slow down the process of superficial depression for several days.

How to avoid pitting?

As is logical, there are cherry varieties that deteriorate less during handling and have a better post-harvest period. The state of ripeness also affects, The ripest cherries and the ones that are light red in color are generally more sensitive to blows.Among the most sensitive cherries we have those of the Van variety.

There are several aspects that we must take into account to prevent our cherries from depreciating commercially:

During harvest and pre-selection

Avoiding unnecessary knocks and movements of the cherry during the harvest and selection of the fruits is the best way to prevent the cherries from deteriorating due to pitting or superficial depression.

Treat the cherries carefully after they are picked from the tree. To do this, we must dump the cherries carefully on the boxes or transport them directly from the macaques or collection baskets to the selection table.

Use low-height boxes, avoiding piling up a large amount of cherries, use boxes with a smooth bottom or with a cushioned surface made of cardboard. Avoid abruptly overturning the boxes on the sorting table.

In handling and packaging plants

During handling and packaging in sorting plants, the cherries suffer a great deal of impacts and blows of varying degrees. Although the use of this type of machinery has helped to considerably reduce selection costs during harvest, it significantly increases pitting problems. This has favored varieties traditionally widely planted with Sunburst to begin to be replaced by varieties that are harder and more resistant to mechanical handling such as Samba.

Some considerations to reduce damage during handling are:

  • Make a gentle dump of the fruit.
  • Avoid situations of cherry piling.
  • Reduce and cushion impacts and friction during transport.
  • Eliminate sharp edges and use cushioning elements.


We have translated the information on our website from Spanish to English. Please note that some words may have had their meaning altered during translation.

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