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Judith A. Abbott, Henry A. Affeldt, and Louis A. Liljedahl

`Delicious' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) from five major U.S. production areas were tested after ≈3 months of commercial storage. Soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), Magness-Taylor (MT) firmness, and sonic transmission spectra were compared with ripeness (maturity in trade terminology) scores assigned by six U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)-licensed apple inspectors according to USDA Grades and Standards inspection procedures. USDA ripeness categories are defined by textural and flavor terms. Inspectors in this test used visual, manual, oral, and auditory sensations to make their judgments, but firmness was the paramount characteristic judged. SSC and TA did not correlate with inspectors' scores, MT, or sonic measurements and thus are not satisfactory indices of ripeness for stored apples. Sonic resonance functions correlated significantly with mean inspectors' scores and with MT firmness. Inspectors' scores correlated slightly better with MT firmness than with sonic terms. MT is destructive and site-specific; in contrast, sonic measurements are nondestructive and representative of the entire fruit.