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Parsnip, Pastinaca sativa / Umbelliferae (Apiaceae)
Postharvest Atmosphere Management
Parsnips are well-adapted to long periods of storage, being this a common practice in places with harsh climate.

The parsnip’s requirements are similar to those of carrots; only healthy produce must be stored.

Once at home, they allow refrigeration and they can be even frozen, provided this is carried out in suitable conditions. If they are put in a perforated plastic bag and stored in the fridge, their properties are kept for almost one month. If we want to extend their self-life, we can freeze them, choosing the whitest leaves, whole or cut up.

Parsnips are subject to anti-germination treatments previous to their storage, as a pre-harvest treatment with maleic hydrazide.

Parsnips are well-adapted to long periods of storage, being this a common practice in places with harsh climate. Relative moisture must be high, at least 90-95%, in order to avoid drying.

For longer periods of storage, temperatures must be between 0 and 1ºC, with 98-100% of relative moisture. Storage under these conditions for two weeks give the vegetable a sweetness and quality similar to that of some products that have been subject to frosts in the field during two months. If they are kept under these temperatures and conditions of relative moisture, storage may last up to 9 months, at the end of which the losses caused by drying will be 1.8%, whereas that caused by rotting will be 2%.
Distribution
The same environmental conditions recommended for storage will help to maintain the quality during the transport and distribution of parsnips.
Postharvest Problems
As it happens with many other root vegetables, the respiratory activity is relatively low. The respiratory heat diminishes with storage; this characteristic differs from other species, in which it tends to increase. The main changes affecting parsnips during post-harvest are: loss of water, sprouting, diseases, browning and change of taste.

Loss of water.
The intensity of the loss depends on the storage temperature and moisture. The higher the temperatures are, the greater the loss of water is. Waxing is not effective to reduce the loss of water.

Sprouting
Parsnips sprout during the storage. In those countries where it is habitual to store this species, they employ maleic hydrazide in order to inhibit this phenomenon.

Diseases
Among them most important there are: Bacterial soft rot, (caused by Erwinia carotovora), Wet soft rot (Sclerotinia) and Grey mould (Botrytis). The effects on the produce are exactly those indicated by the name of the alteration.

Browning
The normal colour (paper white) turns into an opaque yellowish brown colour during the storage. Some areas of dark brown colour arise on the surface, usually corresponding to bruises during harvesting.

If relative moisture is near saturation (98-100%) the colour suffers less alterations than with inferior levels, 90-95%.

Ethylene
It is thought that the taste of parsnips improves after some time of storage or if they are subject to frosts in the field.

However, the taste may have a negative evolution if the environmental air contains levels of ethylene over the normal, causing a bitter taste in the vegetable.
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