Grading of fruits and vegetables after harvesting is an essential step in post-harvest management. Grading of fruits and vegetables on the basis of physical characteristics like weight, size, colour, shape, specific gravity, and freedom from diseases depending upon agrocliamatic conditions. The known methods of grading of fruits and vegetables are manual grading , size grading.
Grading of fruits and vegetables in the fresh form for quality is essential, as the people are becoming quality conscious day by day. Further, upon arrival of fruits and vegetables at the processing centres, they should be graded strictly for quality. The immature properly mature and over mature fruits and vegetable should be sorted out for the best attributes.
Definition of Grading:
Grading is sorting of vegetables and fruits into different grades according to the size, shape, colour, and volume to fetch high price in market.
For International market three general grades are considered as:
1. Extra class 2. Class 1st 3. Class 2nd.
1. Extra Class:
The extra class is of superior quality posses the shapes and colour of the variety and without internal defect likely to affect the inherent texture and flavour. A 5% tolerance is allowed for errors. It must be carefully presented taking into accounts the uniformity of the produces in size colour, condition arrangement of the produce in the package quality and appearances of the packing or pre-packing material.
2. Class I:
Almost having a same quality is like the Extra Class except that a 10% tolerance is allowed. Individual fruit is allowed a slight defect in shape, colour and miner skin defect which do not affect the general appearance for keeping qualities. In packing the size range may be wider and product need not always be arranged in the package.
3. Class II:
This class product may exhibit some external or internal defects provided they are fit for consumption while fresh. This class is best fitted for local or short distance market. This category will satisfy the needs of customers who are not too demanding and for whom price is more important than quality.
Advantages of Grading:
1. Losses the selling price due to presence of substandard products or specimen can be easily avoided.
2. It increased marketing efficiency by facilitating buying and selling a produce without personal selection.
3. Grading enhanced to set good price for graded products.
4. Heavy marketing cost in packing and transportation can be avoided by grading.
5. In grading diseased and defected specimen are not damaged due to contact of diseased specimens and thus gets high price in market.
6. By grading there is fairness to both Buyers and Sellers.
7. Properly graded vegetables and fruits are purchased by the consumer easily without inspection.
Grading of Fruits:
Generally, the fruits are graded on the basis of size, weight , sp. gravity, colour, variety, etc. Size grading is predominantly followed in almost all types of fruits on the basis of size. The fruits are graded as a small, medium, large and extra large. On the basis of maturity, the fruits are graded as immature , properly mature and over mature. Grading on the basis of maturity decides both quality and shelf life. The Alphonsoad and Pairi mango fruits are graded on the basis of weight as less than 200 g , 200-249 g, 250-299 g, 300-349 g and more than 350 g. out of these grades the weight grade 250-299 g account for about 30% of the fruits. The mango fruits are also graded on the basis of Sp. gravity ( 3 grades on the basis of sp. Gravity as less than 1.0 sp.gr, 1.0-1.02 and more than 1.02. The sp.gr Grade 1.0-1.02 accounts for about 50% of the Alphonso and Pairi mango fruits.
Grading of Vegetables:
The fruit vegetables such as bitter gourd, okra, bell pepper, brinjal, green chill, etc. also graded on the basis of size into three grades as small medium and large. The vegetables like tomato are graded on the basis of colour.