International Produce Training

Sweet Cherries-Pitting

With the Chilean sweet cherries hitting the market, remember to look for a few common defects, such as bruising, pitting and soft cherries.  Pitting is the most common condition defect you may see. The surface pitting found on sweet cherries is caused by a breakdown of cells in the flesh directly beneath the skin.  This results in a loss of moisture and a subsequent sinking of the skin covering these areas.  The pits may be round or elongated in shape, of irregular outline and may show a brownish discoloration. 

Scoring pitting as a defect is based on the general definitions for damage and serious damage.  No diameters or areas of pitting have been defined.  To illustrate a scoring guide, the picture below is an official USDA visual aid depicting the maximum area allowed for pitting on a cherry.  In other words, the cherry has to look worse than the visual aid to be scored as a defect. 

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