Chemical characterization and sensory analysis by blind and visually impaired people of local peach varieties

S. Bartolini, R. Viti, E. Ducci


The interest in locally produced foods by the reintroduction of old varieties is due to their environmental hardiness and suitability for low-input agricultural systems. These managements can often produce fruits with imperfections, preventing the consumer acceptance. We have settled a new sensory evaluation going beyond the appearances, involving blind and visually impaired people to provide a quality evaluation of fruits linked to intrinsic rather than exterior characteristics. The research was conducted over two consecutive harvest seasons on three peach old local varieties (‘Alberta’, ‘Mora di Dolfo’ and ‘Regina di Weinberger’ called in loco ‘Regina di Bember’) grown in central Italy. On fruits, physicochemical traits (fruit weight, peel and flesh color, flesh firmness, pH, total soluble solids, titratable acidity), antioxidant content (total antioxidant capacity and total phenols) and sensory analysis were assessed. The three local peach varieties showed interesting fruit attributes in both studied growth-ripening seasons. The white-fleshed ‘Mora di Dolfo’, characterized by the highest antioxidant contents, was particularly appreciated by panellists for its aroma. The new sensory analysis, providing an evaluation based on judgment of intrinsic characteristics of peaches, emerges as a valid tool to assess the interest and appreciation of fruits for a conscious consumer’s choice.

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