Many consumers do not buy peaches due to the fuzzy skin and seed stone and because out-of-season peaches do not possess optimum tree-ripe flavor. The feasibility of using a non-browning freestone peach to deliver high-quality fresh-cut products was investigated. Changes in fresh-cut flavor, texture, and postharvest attributes of commercial-ripe (CR) vs. tree-ripe (TR) harvested and shipped `Bounty' peach was assessed. Fresh-cut CR wedges had an initial firmness of 20.9 N, whereas TR wedges had 11.2 N. On day 2, firmness decreased roughly 3% to 12% and 35% to 45% for CR and TR wedges held at 1 °C, respectively. By day 5, CR wedges hardened (24.5 N) whereas TR did not return to their initial firmness; increasing marginally through day 7. Sensory panel hardness for CR did not change through storage, but with TR wedges, hardness decreased through day 2 then increased until day 7. Little variation was noted in the initial soluble solids for CR vs. TR wedges (11.7, vs. 11.4 °Brix, respectively). After 7 days storage, °Brix decreased 7.5% to 12% in CR and 4.5% to 12% in TR wedges. Yellow flesh color (b*) decreased in all CR and TR treatments through storage. Flavor compounds in expressed juice were analyzed by solid phase microextraction with GC-MS. Several peaks were identified that may be associated with flavor-related changes that occurred during storage. For example, low molecular weight acetates and 6C compounds almost disappeared during storage, whereas short chain fatty acids, lactones, and palmitic acid increased markedly through storage. In TR, the “fruity” descriptor decreased throughout storage and “sweet aromatic” increased slightly (day 2) then decreased through day 7.
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