Two nonmelting flesh (`GUFprince' and `UF2000') and two melting flesh (`Tropic Beauty' and `Rayon') peach cultivars were segregated into ripeness categories at harvest according to initial flesh firmness and prepared as fresh-cut slices as described in Gorny et al. (HortScience 33:110–113), except that there were no “overripe” (0-13 N flesh firmness) stage nonmelting flesh fruit. Slices were stored at 1, 5, or 10 °C for 8 days and were evaluated for visual and taste quality, flesh firmness and color, and respiration and ethylene production rates every other day during storage. The optimal ripeness for preparing fresh-cut slices from the melting flesh cultivars was the “ripe” (13-27 N flesh firmness) stage; less-ripe melting flesh slices did not ripen at 1 or 5 °C and riper melting flesh slices and those held at 10 °C softened excessively, became discolored, and decayed. The optimal ripeness stage for the nonmelting flesh cultivars was 40-53 N flesh firmness, which corresponded to physiologically ripe (climacteric rise) for nonmelting flesh fruit, but melting flesh fruit at that firmenss were physiologically only mature-green (preclimacteric). Storage of nonmelting flesh slices was limited by surface desiccation at 1 °C, and by flesh discoloration at 5 and 10 °C, which was more severe in riper slices. The best storage temperature for both fruit genotypes was 1 °C, which prevented discoloration and decay over the 8-day storage period. Nonmelting flesh peach cultivars are better suited for fresh-cut processing than melting flesh cultivars because their firmer texture allows the use of riper fruit with better flavor than the less ripe fruit that must be used for fresh-cut melting flesh peaches.
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