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2022 Generic Cosmic Crisp® Waxing Protocol

Published by Chris Hedges, Extension ITT Specialist, WSU TFREC

Last updated: October 28, 2021

Disclaimer: this is a living document meant to give general guidance and to be adjusted as the industry gains more experience with packing this variety.

The current protocol was developed by an industry advisory group in consultation with packingline personnel, WSU, suppliers, the WA Tree Fruit Research Commission and PVM. This document is intended to provide general suggestions and will be updated when new information becomes available. If you have questions or suggestions please contact Chris Hedges, Postharvest ITT Specialist, WSU: john.hedges@wsu.edu.

General Comments

For a good wax coating cleaning and preparing the apple is essential. For best results don’t rush the line. Apply a consistent speed and avoid stoppage. The key is to have dry and clean fruit as it hits the wax brushes. Cosmic Crisp® fruit, especially from young trees, can be greasy. Last season (refers to 2019-20 packing season), packers struggled at times to provide an even/appealing wax coating. In addition, off-flavors were reported by consumers. Some of these sub-optimal eating experiences can be traced back to the handling on the packingline. As an industry, all efforts should be made to provide a consistent and enjoyable product to consumers. It is recommended to taste fruit before shipping.

Preparation of fruit before packing

Dump tank

Soap/Rinse

    • Ideal speed – Apples tumbling from one “pocket” pushing to the next. Look for rotation of fruit in “pocket” between brushes with NO bouncing over each other down the line. Slowest speeds should be used if LBD (lenticel breakdown) is a concern.
    • When grease is extremely severe, try slowest speeds first. Increase brush speeds if skin temps are cold and grease is firm (not soft to touch).
    • If only cold water is used during all stages of prep, fast speeds might help to “chip” away heavy grease (Red Delicious protocol).

Drying section

Waxing

ATTENTION: when fruit reaches that point it needs to be completely dry. Check fruit for remaining moisture in the stem bowl or calyx. Run at normal speeds determined by fruit online.
Do not allow the brushes to dry, as this will lead to inferior waxing results (i.e. blotchiness, no wax, poor coverage). If the wax bed is drying out it may be hit with too much air from the dryers. Shield the section to slow down the warm air. Make sure wax brushes are not worn out, old brushes will not hold wax well.
For best results during prolonged breaks (line break down, lunch), consider clearing the wax brushes. Apply wax before the line starts back up to get the brushes re-wetted.

Selection of wax: Each line is different. You need to test your waxes to determine which product gives you the best results in terms of shine, longevity, and taste of fruit. Work with your provider to select the best wax type to optimize the application results on your specific line. Ensure the fruit does not develop off flavor. Carnauba based wax typically works well on fruit that is not greasy but may have a difficult time covering over excessive natural wax without pullback, and splotches. Shellac based products can cause whitening**, and off flavor, while preventing bleed-through from the natural wax coat. **Discuss the propensity to whiten in some markets before use.

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