Production of date fruit is a major agricultural industry in the world, which produced nearly 4.7 million tons of fruit in 1997. Traditionally cultivated in arid regions of Southern Asia and North Africa, the date fruit has proven to be a valuable confectionery or fruit all over the world. In many desert regions, dates remain a subsistence crop. For starting to harvest date fruits, it is better to have basic information about it.
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Steps of how to harvest date fruits
You should be mindful when harvesting date palms since they can grow up to 75 feet tall. It might be difficult for you to harvest your date palm on your own if it is too high. So it is ok to ask for help. These steps will help you harvest the dates from a palm tree if your palm is short and you can reach its fruit.
· Check the ripeness of the fruit
Check your dates frequently throughout the growing season since they will ripen at different times. As soon as they appear wrinkled and have a deep brown color, they are ready for harvest.
· Take a stalk with ripened dates on it
By pulling a ripe date from the stalk of one of your trees, you can tell whether a stalk is ready. If the fruit is ready to be picked, it will be easy to pluck it from the tree. Simply remove the stalk with most of the dates ripened on it.
· From the stalk, harvest your dates
Remove the dates one by one from the stalk. Unripe dates should be spread out on a tarp to ripen in the sun. For best results, wash your ripe dates and freeze them for 24 hours; this way removes all the bacteria. It will keep for a month in the fridge, or you can also leave them out at room temperature from now on.
How to pick the date fruits
When you want to harvest date fruits, the first step is to climb the tree. Underneath the fronds of the tree, dates grow near the top. Utilize the distinctive triangular shape of the bark as a handhold. Gloves may be helpful. Many date-pickers climb barefoot. However, if you are not used to it, this may not be the best idea. There is also an electronic tree lift that allows you to observe the dates from the top of the tree without having to climb the tree. Moreover, dates are more easily accessible since they hang away from the tree.
If you want to climb the tree, consider using a harness. This will help you stay safe while climbing. Since the date trees can grow very tall, a harness will help you prevent falling. A climbing helmet is also strongly recommended, which is available at most sporting goods stores.
To pick the date, pull gently on it. When ripe, dates will pull away from their stems with little resistance. Make sure you pull one date at a time so as not to bruise or damage them. There are several types of dates that are very fragile, particularly the “soft” dates. They should be gently placed in a container. A Medjool date, for example, is considered a soft kind of date.
How to sort the dates
To ensure that sorting results meet client requirements, it is imperative to specify to sorters precisely and unambiguously the defects they should consider for moving fruit to another category. Date fruits usually have the following defects:
- Microbiological defects
- Pest damage
- Mechanical damage
- Physiological damage