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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Byron, Georgia » Fruit and Tree Nut Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #204634

Title: Potential of non-melting flesh peaches for the early season fresh market

item Beckman, Thomas

Submitted to: Journal of the American Pomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2007
Publication Date: 5/2/2008
Citation: Beckman, T.G., Krewer, G.W., Chaparro, J.X., Sherman, W.B. 2008. Potential of non-melting flesh peaches for the early season fresh market. Journal of American Pomological Society. 62(2):52-57.

Interpretive Summary: Early season fresh market peaches suffer from a less than shining reputation. Common consumer complaints include poor flavor (sour, 'green', inadequate sugar), texture (too soft or too hard), poor appearance (greenish ground color and inadequate red skin blush), and high numbers of split and shattered pits. Most fresh market peach cultivars are the melting flesh type. The non-melting flesh type softens at a much slower rate independent of other ripening characteristics. However, this flesh type has been used almost exclusively for the development of canning varieties. This cooperative program has developed several non-melting flesh type cultivars for the early season fresh market. This research has demonstrated that compared to currently available melting flesh type varieties, these new non-melting flesh type varieties are of similar size and provide substantially higher (but not excessive) firmness at time of marketing in combination with better appearance (shape, red blush and orange-yellow ground color) and eating quality (higher sugar content, lower acidity and low incidence of split pits). Additionally, these cultivars also appear to offer improved cropping reliability.

Technical Abstract: The post-harvest behavior of commercial, moderate-chill, melting flesh peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] cultivars was compared to recently released non-melting flesh cultivars over 4 seasons. Storage protocol was designed to approximate conditions likely to be encountered during shipment to market via refrigerated truck and subsequent retail marketing, i.e., 5 days at 4C followed by 2 days at 20C. Non-melting genotypes displayed superior post-storage firmness compared to current commercial melting type cultivars. Additionally, the non-melting genotypes generally displayed superior cropping ability, fruit shape, red skin blush, ground color development, and soluble solid/titratable acidity ratios. Moreover, they are of comparable marketable size and have a significantly reduced incidence of split and shattered pits. This suggests that these new non-melting type cultivars merit testing as alternatives to current melting-type commercial peach cultivars.