University of Georgia researchers are helping to prolong the shelf life of fresh peaches.

Peaches dipped in a 1% calcium chloride solution for 30 minutes were then put through storage and shipping conditions. Peaches do not normally stay in storage for more than two weeks, but the test batch was stored for 21 days and remained firmer than untreated samples.

Application would be simple for growers, who pick early at the 'market mature' stage so peaches can survive shipping. Hydro-coolers used in packing houses can also be adapted for salt solution. While the treatment leaves a slight aftertaste, modifying the concentration of solution could balance taste and benefit.

Engineers will next try spraying peach trees themselves, getting the calcium into peaches as they grow and allowing them to ripen longer and become sweeter, yet not too soft to ship.