A very common defect you may come across while inspecting peaches is split pit. You may notice an opening around the stem, a slightly misshapen peach, or when you cut the peach lengthwise your knife easily slides through the center of a peach.
This peach was cut crosswise and the inspector noticed the split pit. If you look into the U.S. Grade Standards for Peaches you will find split pits are a defect, in fact it states it must be free from injury by split pits, for the U.S. No. 1 Grade. So what do you think? A scorable defect?
Even though the USDA is a bit confusing using the term “Free from injury,” there is a guideline to follow when determining if a split is indeed scorable. I would look at these four criteria:
- If the fruit is misshapen, due to the split pit, score the peach as a defect.
- If any crack around the stem end is unhealed (leaking juice), score the peach as a defect.
- If the crack at the stem end is healed, but exceeds 1/16 of an inch in width at its widest point, score the peach as a defect.
- If there is mold found affecting the split pit, score the peach as a defect.
Remember, if only of these criteria is met the peach is scored as a defect.
In the above image you can see the healed crack, from the split pit. To determine it this is scorable the width of the crack (not the length) would have to exceed 1/16 of an inch. This peach would be scored as a defect, in fact it would be scored as a serious damage defect, because it exceeds 3/16 of an inch.
The peaches you find with split pits are considered as being quality defects, meaning the defect will not progress of become worse, a larger split for example.
But I always recommend to cut the peaches open when you encounter split pits because mold is commonly found, due to the split or crack allowing for an aerobic environment, ideal for mold growth. This peach would be scored as a serious damage defect, a free from defect, scored when there is any visible sign of mold.