How to Tell When a Peach Is Ripe for Eating
When you bite into the perfect peach, you know it immediately. The peach's soft skin gives way to a beautifully juicy center — even though it's a fruit, eating a delectable peach can feel like having dessert.
However, knowing when a peach is perfectly ripe can be difficult. The last thing you want is to cut into a hard peach, or worse, wait too long and have a spoiled peach on your hands. Luckily, we’re here with some tips on how to know when your peach is ripe, how to store your peaches and what to do with your peaches if they do get overripe or damaged.
How to Tell When a Peach Is Ripe
There are quite a few ways to tell if your peach is ripe or not. You don’t have to check all of these boxes before biting into your peach, but checking one or two of them will undoubtedly help make sure that your peach is sweet, juicy and ripe:
- Smell: One of the best ways to know your peach is ripe and ready to eat is when you’re able to smell the sweet aroma it gives off. If the peach isn’t quite ripe, then there won’t be much of a smell. If your peach doesn’t have much of a scent, then that means that it won’t have much taste – that’s why it’s best to wait for the sweet smell of the peach before you eat it.
- Softness: Another great way to tell if your peach is ripe or not is by feeling it. A ripe peach will be slightly soft to the touch. If it’s too hard or firm, then that probably means it’s not ripe yet. Try gently squeezing your peach — if there’s a little bit of “give,” then your peach is ready to eat. Just be sure not to press too hard since peaches tend to bruise easily.
- Appearance: Did you know that sometimes you can tell if a peach is ripe just by looking at it? The red color that you see on peaches happens due to direct sun exposure. A ripe peach will have a dark yellow color on the parts that don’t have exposure to the sun. If your peach is still green or has any bit of green left on it, then it’s not ready to be eaten.
- Shape: You can also check the shape of it! As a peach gets riper, it gets rounder. Unripe peaches are more ovular, while riper peaches are more circular.
Peach Ripening FAQs
If your peaches aren't quite ripe enough to eat, you may wonder how you can ripen them so you can enjoy them sooner. We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions about ripening peaches and their answers:
Can you ripen an unripe peach? Yes! If your peaches aren’t perfectly ripe when you get them, there’s no need to worry. One of the best methods to ripen your unripe peaches is to put them in a paper bag and leave them on the counter for a day.
Will peaches ripen in the refrigerator? When peaches are in the refrigerator, the cold temperature drastically slows down their ability to ripen. So while your peaches may ripen a little bit in the refrigerator, it’s not the best method to use if you’re trying to ripen your peaches quickly.
Will peaches ripen off the tree? Yes! While fruits like strawberries are ripe during picking, peaches will continue to ripen even after being picked. Due to them continuing to ripen, your peaches don’t have to be perfectly ripe when you’re picking them.
- Will peaches ripen on the counter? Yes! There are a few methods of ripening peaches on your counter that effective. Placing them in a paper bag and leaving them on your counter for a day or two is a fantastic way to ripen your peaches quickly. Additionally, you can place your peaches in a ripening bowl on the counter. If the bowl is in the sun, that will speed up the process even more.
How to Store Peaches
If you’re unsure of how to store your peaches, know there are several effective ways to store them, for both short-term and long-term durations.
When your peaches are perfectly ripe, and you’re not quite ready to eat them, one of the best ways to store them is in your refrigerator in a loosely sealed plastic bag. Since colder temperatures slow down a peach’s ripening process, you can store ripe peaches in the fridge for up to five days.
Sometimes you may want to store your peaches for more than five days. One of the best ways to store your peaches longer is to freeze them. The best method is to slice them up when ripe and freeze them on a baking sheet. After they’re frozen, you’ll want to move them into a plastic bag and put them back in the freezer. From here on, they should keep well for multiple weeks.
What to Do With Overripe or Damaged Peaches
Peaches can be a finicky fruit that overripens very quickly. If you find yourself with overripe peaches, you may wonder what you can do with them. Luckily, overripe peaches aren’t the end of the world, and there are several delicious ways to utilize your overripe or damaged peaches:
- Turn them into a smoothie: By freezing your overripe or damaged peaches, you can blend them into a delicious peach smoothie. You’ll never be able to tell that they were overripe in the first place as the flavor will still be great, and the smoothie will make for a tasty treat.
- Make them into a glaze or sauce: As long as your fruit still has juice, it can add some great flavor to a sauce or glaze for meat. Making a sauce can be as simple as reducing the peaches with sugar over low heat. Then, you can add it to savory dishes and sweet treats.
- Bake them in a crumble or cobbler: Your fruits don’t have to be super pretty for them to taste good in a baked dessert. Enjoy a warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of flavors.
- Peach ice cream: If you have access to an ice cream maker, peach ice cream is one of the tastiest treats you can make and provides a perfect use for your overripe peaches.
Check Out Lane Southern Orchards!
Lane Southern Orchards has some of the freshest peaches and peach products around. During the season, get fresh peaches shipped right to your door with our subscription offer. We also have various other peach products you can enjoy all year round, including gift baskets, jars and cobbler mixes. If you've got a bunch of peaches you don’t know what to do with, check out some of our amazing peach recipes!