A commercial controlled delayed cooling or preconditioning treatment was developed to extend peach (Prunus persica) market life of the most popular California peach cultivars. A 24 to 48 h cooling delay at 68 °F (20.0 °C) was the most effective treatment for extending market life of internal breakdown susceptible peaches without causing fruit deterioration. This treatment increased minimum market life by up to 2 weeks in the cultivars tested. Weight loss and softening occurred during the controlled delayed cooling treatments, but did not reduce fruit quality. Detailed monitoring of these fruit quality changes during the delayed cooling period and proper use of fungicides is highly recommended for success in this new fruit delivery system. Rapid cooling after preconditioning is important to stop further fruit deterioration such as flesh softening, senescence, decay and weight loss. Controlled delayed cooling can also be used to pre-ripen susceptible and nonsusceptible peaches to deliver a ready-to-buy product to the consumer.
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Corresponding author; Pomology Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, located at Kearney Agricultural Center, 9240 S. Riverbend Avenue, Parlier, CA 93648.