228 responses

  1. Miffy
    July 6, 2008

    Peachy idea (sorry!)
    I just bought some today at the market and will try your idea. Glad you are back, I missed you!

  2. Renae
    July 7, 2008

    Your peach is making me very hungry. I rarely have the patience to allow my fruit to ripen, and that makes me very sad.

  3. Joan
    August 22, 2008

    I am indebted to the author of ripening peaches article.
    Having purchased a bushel and a half that seemed to be ready for the freezer in a day or two, it was discovered that they had been picked too soon and would need some major help with the ripening process.
    Had it not been for the directions above, I would have lost them, or at least they would not have been juicy, tasty and tender to eat.
    After waiting a week and a half to be able to process them for the freezer, only one was a great grey mass. No bruises or rot appeared on any of the rest of the peaches.
    My grateful thanks to you.

  4. Joan
    August 22, 2008

    I have a peach tree on my property that has never produced, what I’d call a good ripe peach. If I leave it too long, then by the time they’re ripe, critters get to them, so I’ve had to pick them too early and I’ve resulted in having most of them go to the compost pile.

    I can’t wait to try your way and see what happens.

    Thanks, Joan

  5. Tom
    August 23, 2008

    Thanks for the kind words Joan. I have the same problem with my peach trees. The minute they ripen on the tree, I think a dinner bell goes off for every critter in a five mile radius. In fact I think some squirrels and racoons have a phone tree, so to speak. ;-)

    • julie wilkins
      September 14, 2014

      Looks like everyone has same problem as I do: having to pick the peaches before they are completely ripe to avoid the critter raid. My critter is birds!! I see them out there every day checking. They had a feast on my figs when they were ripe. My question is, after ripening indoors with your method, will this make them easier to peel? I am not able to peel more than just the stem end a little way down then it’s over. I blanched them, then I blanched them a little more, then cooled in cold water. Nothing worked. They just aren’t dead ripe.

  6. Terry
    August 26, 2008

    Hi, I am starting to harvest my peaches. I have found the first two peachesw, half ripe and soft put the other half of the peach is hard and green!! Can anyone tell me what happened?! Thanks ahead of time for your time.

    Terry in Spokane, WA

  7. Honey
    September 1, 2008

    Our very old peach tree has developed loads of peaches this year…the weight is such that two branches have broken off and we have many green peaches. Will your method for ripening work with these?

  8. Tom
    September 1, 2008

    Good question…I think the peaches would need to be a week or two at most from harvesting, but I’d give it try. It seems late in the season so I’d be encouraged that it would work. I had some green peaches I picked before some racoons got them all and it took 7 days but they ripened. Good luck. -Tom

    September 24, 2008



  10. Donnatella
    May 29, 2009

    I am presently biting into a semi sweet hard peach. I want to make a pie this weekend.

  11. Rachelle
    June 9, 2009

    It works!!! I asked my Twitter pals how to ripen peaches, and was sent your link.
    I had small peaches and they took 2 days. I need them ripe for my TWD post on my blog.

    Now I can buy those hard as rock stone fruits and get to eat them in days! yay!! Thank you!

  12. Tom
    June 9, 2009

    Excellent! Glad to help when a peach recipe is at stake. cheers!

  13. Dawn
    June 15, 2009

    I recently purchased some peach shaped rocks. After finding your wonderful website I decided to follow your advice and see what happens… it could hurt, right?
    Well, my daughters and I just finished two that were dripping with sweet juice and very tasty. I saved the biggest one for my husband, a true peach man.
    Thanks for your advice and I will certainly visit again when I need more great advice.

  14. Tom
    June 15, 2009

    Dawn you are welcome, thank you for the kind words and I guess I need to get going and impart more of sage advice. ;-)

  15. Blue
    June 16, 2009

    i’ve long held that there is little in this world that can compare to a perfectly ripe peach. a perfect tree-ripened mango picked fresh and consumed on the shores of a tropical island may come close. and a good pear is pretty great treat too. but a perfect PEACH, now that is nearly impossible to beat.

    that said, it’s been years since i had one. i bought some rocks today at my local farmer’s market, and was determined to find a way to make them ripen without rotting simultaneously. passing up a few of the brown paper bag suggestions, i kept searching and found this. i’m excited to try your method and send my thanks for posting your thoughts!

  16. Jo Ann
    July 12, 2009

    Hey, it worked great. Two days ripened the peaches and they smelled and tasted as if we picked ripe ones from the tree. Thanks so much

  17. Tom
    July 12, 2009

    Excellent new Jo Ann — nothing like a ripe peach!

  18. Sundaye
    July 20, 2009

    We bought rock hard peaches yesterday and my husband put them in the frig…can I take them out and ripen them now after they have been refridgerated
    Thank you

  19. Tom
    July 20, 2009

    Hi Sundaye, ya you betcha, you can ripen them after they’ve been in the fridge.

  20. bob
    July 24, 2009

    thanks. sorry but for us we needed our peaches ripe in 1 day not in a couple of days.

  21. bill
    July 24, 2009

    <p>I liked the idea. I have not gotten to try it yet but one day I’m sure I’ll try it. And the pictures are really good!!</p>

  22. Carol
    July 27, 2009

    The only method I found that has worked. Thank you!

  23. Glenn
    July 29, 2009

    Yup, I tried two between a pair of napkins and one in a sandwich-size paper bag. Between the napkins were ready in two days, and the bag has maybe another day to go.Your method works for me. Thanks!

  24. Ruth
    July 31, 2009

    Thanks for this tip. I’m going out to the kitchen right now and employing your strategy!

  25. Terry
    August 8, 2009

    How do you ripen a plum?

  26. Tom
    August 8, 2009

    Terry this will work for a plum, I just don’t let them get too soft or mushy. I like plums a litte firm and with some tartness, especially when used in baking. Prune type plums like Brooks, Italian, or French Imperial Epinneuse are more freestone if just a little underripe, but just as delicious.

  27. max
    August 12, 2009

    Thank you so much, our tree is laden this year and I am now going to pick all..!!!!

  28. darlene
    September 6, 2009

    giving this ripening method a try…wil let cha kno what we think!!! :)

  29. Joel
    September 8, 2009

    I’m a bachelor in the big city and don’t have cloth napkins… will paper towels or paper napkins do? How about a pillowcase? :-)

  30. Tom
    September 8, 2009

    Joel I think all of the options will work, you just need the cloth or paper towel to cover the peaches and be a breathable fabric/paper.

  31. norma
    September 12, 2009

    a branch broke on our peach tree leaving us with kilos of underripe fruit , can any one recommend a way of using them

  32. Tom
    September 12, 2009

    Norma I don’t know of any green peach recipes, so I’d try to ripen them. It’s late in the season and they may just be a week or two away from ripening. So remove them from the branch, keep them in a cool room, and placed on a cloth (sheet, tablecloth, napkin) and not touching. Then, cover the whole lot with a cloth that breaths–cotton or linen. In a week or two they ripen. I’ve had this work for me.

  33. Kellie
    October 2, 2009

    Thank you, Tom! I have been trying the paper bag method and it has not worked about 1/2 the time. (mushy/grainy/early rot). I will definitely try this. I am buying the more expensive organic peaches now and I really hate for them to go to waste. Do you know if your method works for pears?

  34. Tom
    October 2, 2009

    Hi Kellie, it does work for pears. There are summer pears like bartlett which ripen in no time and then there are winter pears like seckel, d’anjou, comice and bosc that take a little longer but yield some amazing flavors. I usually eat winter pears when they are firm at the base but the top of the pear at the stem yields to light pressure. They keep in the fridge quite well until you’re ready to ripen.

  35. emily
    October 2, 2009

    Hi, I am 11 years old and I am doing a science fair project on fruit ripening and I still need more information about the peach ripening process. Could you help me?

  36. Tom
    October 2, 2009

    Sure thing Emily, but I’m not much of an expert on the process of ripening, scientifically speaking, but I may be able to steer you in the right direction.

    Here’s a link from Cornell University called ask a scientist that explains why fruit ripens: http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/index.html?quid=205
    and one from Grit, a magazine about rural living: http://www.grit.com/Garden/What-Makes-Fruit-Ripen.aspx#

  37. emly
    October 7, 2009

    Thanks you’ve really helped me alot. My science teacher aplaudes you for your advice for me!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. emly
    October 7, 2009

    Oh i almost forgot i need to know the auther ( you) name to put it on my research report and bibloiblyogrophy, can you help me with this?

  39. Tom
    October 7, 2009

    Emily, here’s how you’d reference my blog in your bibliography:

    “The Best Way to Ripen Peaches.” http://www.tallcloverfarm.com. Web. 4 July 2008.

  40. Rosemary
    May 15, 2010

    Hi Tom….are you still givijng out really great advice ??? Would like to ask you a few quweestions. Thanx,, Rosemary

  41. Tom
    May 15, 2010

    Hi Rosemary, you bet. What’s on your mind?

  42. Rosemary
    May 16, 2010

    Hi & thanx for taking the time to write. I have the peaches all picked and they are resting under the sheet. I saw somewhere on your site how to dip them, etc to save for later. Way too many to eat right now and no nearby neighbors. Could you advise how to do this and does it involve freezing ?? I thought so but could not find article again. Thanx again…Rosemary

  43. Tom
    May 17, 2010

    Rosemary, too many peaches to eat is a good problem to have. I think you must have seen the dipping how-to on another blog, but here’s what I’d do.

    Ripen the peaches under the cloth. When ripe, cut in half, and place halves on cookie sheet on wax paper or parchment and pop in the freezer. When frozen through, remove and place the halves in a zip lock freezer bags, adding more as they ripen. I wouldn’t bother dipping them in hot water at first to remove the peel. I think the peel protects the flesh when frozen.

    While these can’t beat a fresh peach (what can?), they sure are fine when used in baking or smoothies, yogurt, ice cream or jam. Those are some early peaches (jealous); are you in California?

  44. Heather
    June 15, 2010

    Thanks for a wonderful and informative post! I just returned from the farmers’ market with some gorgeous but rock-hard peaches. Now I know what to do! :)

  45. Julie
    June 20, 2010

    Great! I’ll try it out… My roomie and I picked over eight/hundred peaches, all green ’cause of birds and bugs.
    Wish me luck. I hear my freezer calling! (nothing like a fresh peach taste in the middle of winter!)

  46. Julie
    June 24, 2010

    The more I read, the better it gets! I’m going to make a cobbler tomorrow with the peaches I’ve ripened and start freezing the next batch. Now all I need is more freezer space!

  47. Tom
    June 24, 2010

    Julie, having too many ripe peaches is one fine dilemma–here’s to your cobbler, crisp, pie, jam and whatever such abundance brings.

  48. Nancy
    July 6, 2010

    Happened upon this info & I’m so excited! Between the squirrels and the BUNNIES (who are standing on their hind legs & picking peaches off my tree!) I’m lucky to get any fruit at all! This is the first year my tree has produced enough after the marauders have struck for me to have any fruit at all. At the rate they’re going, I’m going to have to pick some unripe fruit, so I’m excited to see how this works. Thanks!!

  49. reb
    July 8, 2010

    I was just talking to my mom about the peaches we used to get from a cousin who grew them–at this time of year the whole house would smell of peaches as they were set to ripen in cardboard trays under all the furniture–I never heard of anyone else ripening them this way so it was so cool to read your instructions. Now I have hopes of actually enjoying a supermarket bought peach!

  50. Tom
    July 8, 2010

    Reb, what a great story. I love the idea of peaches on cardboard perfuming the house.

  51. Danielle
    July 12, 2010

    Hey Tom,
    I am new to this whole peach thing but have a tree that has alot of peaches on it. Some of them have started to ripen but bugs are starting to eat them. So question 1, should I just go ahead and pick the green ones and ripen them, they are about the size of a tennis ball? And question 2, some of them have little black dots on them, is this okay to eat? Thanks so much!

  52. Cindy
    July 13, 2010

    Hey Tom,
    I rippened some of my peaches and then went to put them up. I noticed they are cling peaches, which makes it more difficult to pit. I noticed some of the peaches when I sliced them in half the pit comes apart and is gooey. Is this normal? I read somewhere the pit is poisonous and didn’t know if it was safe to use these?

  53. Annie
    July 15, 2010

    Hi, The storm broke my heavy laden peach tree. The peaches are hard but some actually have a peach aroma. they are usually harvested late August. It is mid July. Can they be saved.?? The top broke under the weight of the peach but is still attatched by an inch or two of bark. Will they still ripen on the tree or should I pick them. I covered the broken top with a cloth to keep it wet and then wrapped a plastic bag around that to keep the moisture in.
    thanks, Annie

  54. Tom
    July 15, 2010

    Danielle: You really want to try to keep the peaches on the tree as long as possible, until they show nice color and size. The black spots shouldn’t be any problem, unless the fruit is mis-shapen or deformed.

    Cindy: Split pits happen to my peaches all the time, not to worry, some varieties are prone to it. Sometimes though it will attrack earwigs. The inner seeds are toxic, but I’ve never had any problem with just tossing the seeds and eating the peaches.

    Annie: I recommend picking them, as the covered cloth and plastic on the tree will only encourage rot and mold. They really need air circulation. You might save the peaches if they are far enough along in the ripening stage (aroma is encouraging). Just follow the instructions above and you may have too many peaches to eat. I hope so!

  55. Lauren
    July 19, 2010

    I am very impressed at the way you assisted Emily both with the advice for resources and how to reference too! It is evident you have a smile in your heart!

    Thank you for the peach ripening advice as well!

  56. Tom
    July 20, 2010

    Thanks Lauren, and you brought a smile to my face as well.

  57. Breanne
    August 4, 2010

    Hi, Tom, this sounds great but I do have a question. You say to keep the covered peaches somewhere cool and out of the sun. I live in Hawaii, and room temperature is about 75-80 degrees. Will that mess me up too bad, or just speed up the process? Thanks!

  58. Tom
    August 4, 2010

    Hi Breanne, that temp should be fine and just speed up the process, like you said. It’s keeping the peaches out direct sun that’s important–tends to bake them and make them rot rather than ripen.

  59. Karen
    August 13, 2010

    Tom, I googled “why do peaches not get their juice”, and came upon your website. I read every question and answer about peaches, my all time favorite fruit. Had peaches in Italy 7 years ago which were to die for and I could never enjoy them as much as I did there. Here in Philly we get peaches from “down South” and sometimes from New Jersey. Recently had 9 or so in 3 paper bags and they never got juicy. I was so disappointed, I thought I had better find out why before wasting any more money. Your answers to everyone are not only informative, but are “sweetly” written. From the city guy who doesn’t have a linen napkin to the little girl doing a science fair project, you warm the heart and provide encouragement. Thanks for being there for all of us peach lovers and taking your time to help us enjoy a the wonder of a peach.

  60. Tom
    August 18, 2010

    Karen, I’m beaming from ear to ear. You made my day. Thank you taking time to comment, join the thread and send such kind encouragement. By the way, I’m working my way through two cases of peaches from Yakima, WA–um um good!

    • Don E.
      August 22, 2010

      Hi Tom,
      I hate green peaches but I get along ok with green nectarines. I went through years of suffering and passing up the nectarines in the supermarket because they greedy produce industry can’t leave them on the tree long enough to even get close to having any flavor.
      Then I was in the market and a lady standing next to me heard me grumbling again about the fruit being hard as a baseball.
      She said she eats them like an apple.
      It never occured to me to try them like that. I bought one for the experimant and was quite impressed. Just eat it like an apple.
      But they are not so good like that if they are half ripe. They have to be on the greener side or completely ripe or I won’t touch them. To get ripe nectarines in washington state you have to wait on the fruit stands to start popping up around your area of residence or live in eastern washington such as Yakima and ask the farmers if you can pick yours off there tree for a price of coarse.

      Now the peaches are a total different story. I can’t eat them green like the nectarines. They just don’t work out the same.
      This brings me to you Tom, my new best friend..

      I bought a box of peaches at the local IGA store for $22.50 yesterday. The peaches felt about a week from being etible.

      I had two questions for you buddy..

      Number one is what is tea cloth? LOL Seriously???
      Can some other cotton type of cloth like a towel work your magic?
      I am a bachalor and don’t have the fancy stuff at close reach.
      The second question is that I have never seen a peach tree on the west side of the mountains but i am assuming you had some growing on your island and actually producing??
      I live south of Olympia about 30 miles and if these precious little fruits WILL grow over here I want to get started with growing my own.

      I want to get started on this trick as soon as possible. Thanks for your help.

  61. Tom
    August 22, 2010

    Don, crispy nectarines, eh? For novelty’s sake, I may give it a try. Now on to your questions.

    1. Sorry, I grew up in a house with tea towels (linen hand towels used when company was coming). Now that I read it, it makes me laugh as well. Here’s my point, you need a breathable fabric in manageable size, like cotton or linen napkins or a cut-up cotton sheet. When I have lot of peaches, I use an old cotton table cloth. I put the peaches on one side and fold over the other side to cover. I found thicker fabrics (like terry cloth towels) hold moisture and encourage rotting. (Oh, I can hear quips as I type.)

    2. Peach trees do grow west of the Cascades and even better south of Olympia, as you have more sun/heat units than folks in Seattle or those on an island in the middle of Puget Sound.

    Here’s the catch, because it rains so much in the winter, peach trees get a fungus called leaf curl, which can kill young trees. You want resistant varieties like Frost, Avalon Pride, Q-1-8, Kreibich, and Charlotte. You may not get bumper crops but you will get some peaches.

    Here are links to the ones I grow:



    Good luck on growing your own!

  62. Don E.
    August 23, 2010

    Thanks for the quick update.
    Now just one last question. Will your ripening magic work on other friuts such as tomatos? I never liked calling a tomato a fruit. Who thought upo that one any how. LOL Don

  63. Julian
    August 25, 2010

    I’m gonna give this a try. Strong wind last night followed by rain and abnormally cool temperatures all day today wiped out about half the peaches on my last-ripening tree. Thing is, there’s a fungus that hits the peaches on this tree under these conditions. The ones that fell were mostly rotted by the time I came home from work, so I picked the rest and am currently processing everything ripe for drying or freezing. Howevr, half the rest (about a bushel) are too green.

  64. Tom
    August 25, 2010

    Good luck Julian, just make sure the peaches are dry or else the fungus will follow your peaches inside as they ripen.

  65. Karen
    August 25, 2010

    Tom…could you tell me what is the cause of a chalky after taste/feeling in my mouth after eating a peach? They are ripe, very juicy and properly ‘soft’….but, not particularly sweet, and the chalkiness? I actually ordered them from a well known fruit supplier as they usually have superb produce, and I was tired of what the grocery stores have to offer. Other than when I lived in GA briefly as a child, the last really wonderful peach I had was over 20 years ago outside of Johnson City TX. It was the size of a softball and you had to eat it outside as the juice was dripping from it!

    • Tom
      August 25, 2010

      Hi Karen, chalkiness, it could be a couple things. I’ve had white peaches that were chalky tasting, and found it was the simply the peel which caused the bitterness. Once peeled they tasted fine. Other times I’ve had chalky tasting peaches (usually accompanied by mealy flesh) that likely came from properly stored fruit by the supplier or peaches picked to early by the grower. Not much you can do after that, but gift them to your compost pile.

  66. Karen
    August 26, 2010

    Hi Tom…thanks for the speedy reply. I had considered the peel, and peeled the remainder of the one I was eating. Of course by then, I suppose the taste had already been introduced to my mouth. The next I peeled entirely, and was improved, but the taste was still there. I most always remember eating the skin, but do recall that phenomena before. I have actually placed several orders for these at staggered shipping times. If those that arrive today are no better, I guess I will cancel the remainder. I came upon your site looking for an answer to my question, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will bookmark it for the future. Thanks! Karen :-)

  67. Allison
    August 26, 2010

    Hi Tom,

    I have a peach tree that is full of peaches. The ones at the top are really hard to harvest. Many peaches drop off before I get a chance to pick them. How can I protect the peaches from hitting the hard ground? I have thought of netting or tying a sheet under the tree to catch the peaches, but would rather hear from an expert what works best.

  68. Betsy
    August 30, 2010

    Hi Tom,

    I love your blog and your island life :)!
    We picked peaches at a local orchard recently, and the ones i ripened in the bowl on the counter are outstanding. Since we picked a bushel, i put the rest in the fridge. i pulled some out of the fridge recently and tried to ripen them in the same ceramic bowl on the counter, and they never turned quite the same deep orange color and are mush! It must be the refrigeration that is the difference. I am going to try your method with some of the other refrigerated peaches…have you had successful experience with refrigerating and then ripening peaches? Thanks! Betsy

  69. Tom
    August 30, 2010

    Betsy, thanks for the compliment. As for your peaches, he’s what works for me.

    I ripen all the peaches first. When they are ripe and ready to eat, I place them in the refrigerator. I’ve kept ripe peaches in the fridge up to a week and half (rare as I eat them quickly). They stay juicy and gorgeous.

    So ripen them first in the method of this post. Then place them in the fridge and eat as you like. Tomatoes are the same way, don’t refrigerate if unripe.

  70. Betsy
    August 30, 2010

    Thanks, Tom. That makes sense. I do that with avocados–ripening them first and then placing them in the refrigerator– and it works well with them. I’ll apply this method with peaches (and tomatoes) now. Thanks so much for the tip.
    Best, Betsy

  71. Peach LOVER #1!
    September 2, 2010

    Thank you so much! this is awesome! I’ve got peaches in my fruitbowl that need ripening! And thanks to you, I can do it the SMART way.

    Your method of ripening is awesome!Thanks again.

  72. Jane
    September 11, 2010

    Tom, I loved your idea. It was brilliant, easy and it worked! I purchased a bunch of beautiful organic peaches at Whole Foods to make perserves (for the first time). The recipe came out perfect as the ripeness was just right. Great tip!

  73. Tom
    September 11, 2010

    Peach LOVER #1, my pleasure.

    Jane, congrats on your first batch of peach preserves. Now you’re hooked no doubt–good! Sweet preserves and your sweet words, thank you very much.

  74. gus
    September 20, 2010

    Tom – From what you wrote and what your photo said, the ripening method you use seems to be a very good method. The word is that all of the sweetness of the peach is in side of it as soon as you pick the peach from the tree. The same thing is so for other fruits such as bananas. If you don’t believe that, simply fry a banana and taste it… So, here’s my own method of “ripening” a peach, and it seems to work well.
    Cut it in two and remove the pit. Put the two halves (and you can cut them into pieces if you want) onto a microwave oven safe dish and lightly cover the pieces with a paper towel (etc.). Zap the pieces with the high setting for 30 seconds (for a small peach) or for up to a minute and a half for a really big peach. Cool the pieces. Eat them however you care to eat them. Sweet and “ripe” in a minute! (I never met a redneck who would wait around for several days for food of any kind, peaches included.) … :)

  75. Tom
    September 20, 2010

    Gus, thanks for the good laugh and the good tip. Instantly ripe peach; I’ll give this a try.

  76. Molly
    September 23, 2010

    Thanks, Tom. I have a table full of beautiful, but hard, peaches ripening as you suggest. In CT this has been a great year for both peaches and apples — more than I can remember. Am I correct that if there is a brown spot on the peach that it is not a good idea to try to ripen it? Since it is late Sept, the fruit is close to ripe anyway and I plan to just make jam from the damaged fruit. Is that what you do?

  77. Tom
    September 24, 2010

    Molly if the brown spot is just a surface blemish, and not showing any bruising or rot, you should be okay to ripen it. If it looks dimpled, oozing juice, or is softer than the rest of the peach, you may want to toss it or keep a closer eye on it daily. Make sure the peaches aren’t touching. And yep, I make jam or peach butter out of the ugly ones. Good luck!

  78. Nancy
    October 25, 2010

    Outstanding idea. Brought California peaches to my Virginia home, disappointed because they were hard as a rock. Tried your linen napkin idea and can’t thank you enough. EX-CELL-ANT!!!!! You must be on glorious Bainbridge.

  79. Tom
    October 25, 2010

    Thanks Nancy! Glad it worked for you, and I’m on the other glorious Puget Sound island: Vashon. ;-)

  80. Ted
    February 14, 2011

    I’m about to try your peach ripening method in Australia. We have all the same problems of your other correspondents of broken branches and animal (parrot) attack. We don’t make jam or bottle at this stage on our 20 acre hobby farm, we just call all the neighbors so I will be passing on your advice to them. Cheers.

  81. Tom
    February 15, 2011

    Hi Ted from Down Under, I spent a couple weeks in your beautiful country many years ago, the Barossa Valley and Adelaide. Bet your neighbors love you. Thanks for the comments and visit!

  82. Ted
    February 16, 2011

    Its a small world. Many years ago I looked out over Puget Sound from the space needle. Beautiful. Here’s an update – yesterday the Barossa was the latest place to be flooded. It looks like the grape harvest will fail which will hurt the winemakers.
    Neighbors are happy and given your advice.

  83. Timo
    March 4, 2011

    Love your website! I have quite a few peach trees out here in New Zealand that have all fruited beautifully this year. I’m keen to make the most of them before the birds and possums do. Your ripening advice works well, any ideas for making the most of surplus?

  84. Tom
    March 5, 2011

    Hi Timo, and thanks for blog love and I return the compliment. Wow, what an exciting journey you’ve been on.

    As for the peach surplus, now that is a very good problem to have. Here are my suggestions:

    1. Peach butter: simply puree the peaches, add sugar and lemon juice to discourage discoloring, reduce volume by simmering, add spices you like and then bottle or freeze. Makes an amazing spread.
    2. Barter peaches; I give you peaches, you give me peach pie, or some canned peaches or lamb kebabs. ;-)
    3. Peach sauce: really easy, chop peaches, heat a bit, add sugar and lemon juice. Simmer briefly. When gloppy and a little thicker, freeze or can. You can use it on ice cream, in yogurt, on toast or crumpets, in pudding or just by the spoonful.

    Good luck and our hearts go out to New Zealand and the heroic efforts of the men and women there, rebuilding after the earthquake.

  85. Joyce
    May 11, 2011

    Hi, I just removed the first peaches from my young tree (I noticed a bird(?) got to one of them). They are not very ripe so I will follow your advice on ripeing but I have another problem. Once I picked the few I had left I noticed the stem side of the peach had split open and now there is a hole there. I think the pit split. Is it too late for my peaches? Thanks!

  86. Tom
    May 11, 2011

    Hi Joyce, I’d keep the split pit peaches separate so you can keep a closer eye on them ripening. They may just make it if no flesh is exposed or earwigs lay in hiding. I’ve had that happen and about half ripen and the other half succumb to mold. Good luck!

  87. Barbara
    May 30, 2011

    Hey Tom
    I just wanted to say awesome blog and i am going to be trying your method of peach ripening here in central Florida i didnt even know we grew Peaches so we went and got about a half a bushel to try most are very hard with about 10-15 of them being soft and juicy.

  88. Allison
    June 2, 2011

    Hi Tom! I love your ideas for ripening as I have the same problem so many others seem to have – leaving them on the tree until they’re ripe…well, they get pecked and eaten from everything but us humans! My children picked several bags full tonight so I’m going to use your ripening method. Since I have loads (way more still on the tree), I’m going to have to freeze some. I love your recipes above for the peach butter and the peach sauce…do you peel the peaches first for these two recipes or leave as is? (My peaches grew in really small this year so I have billions of small ones – okay, not really billions, but probably close to a thousand, so the thought of having to peel that many is more than a bit daunting.
    Thanks for your great ideas, plans, recipes!

  89. Tom2
    June 8, 2011

    Hi Tom, I just bought some peaches from a chain grocery store. They’ve been refrigerated. They look beautiful but are rock hard. Will your technique work on fruit that’s been subjected to fridge temperatures for a couple days? Thanks.

  90. Tom
    June 8, 2011

    Hi Tom2, Yep it will work, but it may take a 3-4 days to a week to ripen thoroughly.

  91. Amazed
    June 11, 2011

    Tom, THANK YOU for this tip! We were able to eat a whole box of Costco peaches instead of losing half of them because they didn’t ripen correctly.

    We had a question: do you have any idea why the stems have to be down?

  92. Tom
    June 11, 2011

    Thanks Amazed! You know my guess is simply the peach can handle the weight better on the stem side down, say on its shoulders. When placed on the side or upright to ripen, the entire peach presses down on a small dot of area, which usually bruises the peach and then starts rot and fungus on an otherwise unripe peach. That’s my theory.

  93. Amazed
    June 11, 2011

    Thanks for the swift response. Your answer makes sense. We appreciate it!

  94. RC
    June 25, 2011

    Hello !

    So happy I stumbled on your blog I have recently discovered White peaches .Apparently so has everyone else because they go fast where I live this week my local produce guy ordered some for me and I got first pick they were not ripe so I put them in a pillow case Hope that does the trick!

    wish me luck and thank you so much for your tips !!

  95. Tom
    June 26, 2011

    Hey RC, welcome, and good for you for trying white peaches. Their subtle sweetness and perfume is really s0mething special. Another place to look for the white peach is Asian markets, where it seems to be well stocked when in season.

    With white peaches, it will take a couple days at least and then do a little sniff test for fragrance. Do they smell like a peach? Then ready, and they will keep for several days and ripen slowly until the point of being a juice bomb of flavor. Cheers, Tom

  96. Sparklyjen
    June 27, 2011

    In my twenties a friend got me to try a perfectly ripe peach from a roadside stand one summer. I had never had anything other than canned peaches up to that moment. The taste memory of that beautiful, perfect peach was so profound that, nearly 12 years later, I am unable to eat and enjoy fruit that is not at it’s best. It has been disappointing to say the least. I can’t wait to taste a perfectly ripe peach again! Thank you for your generous advice and kindness : D

    • Tom
      June 28, 2011

      Thank you Sparklyjen, I hope this works for you, and indeed there is nothing like a fine, ripe peach on a summer day. Thanks for visiting.

  97. monica
    July 1, 2011

    I used this method and my peaches got moldy I did exactly what it said to do and I am just wondering why the molded

    • Tom
      July 1, 2011

      Hi Monica, mold can be caused by a several variables; it needs nutrients, water, oxygen and favorable temperatures to grow. So to keep mold out of your peach ripening process try to keep your peaches completely dry (don’t wash until you eat them), make sure your fruit is not bruised or damaged in any way, place in a room with great ventilation, and cool temperatures, no excessive heat or direct sun, and use a fabric that breathes, like linen, the fabric has to allow the exchange of air.

      Good luck, I hope this helps. Cheers Tom


  98. Andrea
    July 2, 2011

    Happened upon this article about a month ago. Your method is fabulous!!! I have yet to have a mealy or hard peach. I have always used the paper bag method but not being fully happy with it I went looking for other ideas. I just have to remember to tell my family why the towels are on the counter and that there are peaches in there!!!

  99. Kelley
    July 8, 2011

    Thank you for this tip! I just ate the best, most juicy peach. I will never eat a semi-ripe peach again!

  100. Joseph
    July 11, 2011

    Well, I’m a dissenter from most. I look for the the hardest peach I can find. I love biting into an under rip peach and hearing the crunch as if I am biting into an apple. Just had one of those a few minutes ago :) I just like sour peaches and apricots a LOT. Every now and then I will indulge in a nice ripe sweet peach, but for the most part, hard and crunchy is what I love the most. Not mealy, but crunchy and tart :) I know, I’m weird.

  101. Tom
    July 11, 2011

    Hi Joseph, no judgement here. I mean, one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten included a hard green papaya. At first I thought how can that me good, but I’m here to tell you it was delicious. Here’s to the crunch and here’s to soft, and here’s each to his or her own!

  102. Peggy
    July 16, 2011

    Thank you for sharing “The Best Way to Ripen Peaches”. Mine were rock hard a few days ago, going into peach bread pudding tomorrow. The aroma is wonderful. I am now excited about buying peaches for the first time in years.

    Bookmarked :)

  103. Tom
    July 16, 2011

    Peggy, that’s music to my ears, ummmmm bread pudding!
    Tom recently posted..My Strawberry Cake Is Going to the DogsMy Profile

  104. Curious
    July 17, 2011

    I have a dumb question…how do you test to see if the peach is ripe if you don’t squeeze it?

  105. Tom
    July 17, 2011

    Hi Curious, not a dumb question, but nowadays many peaches are varieties that actually don’t get particularly soft and remain firm even when ripe.

    You can hold a peach and clasp gently and sense its firmness. Most people push their thumb into it and ruin the peach for further ripening. Look for good color and good weight, even a little green near the stem top is okay.

    Commercially I can guarantee you a grocery store peach is not ripe and ready to eat upon purchase. You just can’t ship a truly ripe peach and expect it to be consumer ready when unloaded and placed in the produce bin at the grocery store.

    I prefer firm peaches that I can ripen at home on their schedule. I just enjoyed a parcel of white and yellow peaches that seemed ripe enough but really took about 4-5 days of tabletop undercover ripening to reach their peak flavor and aroma and juiciness.
    Tom recently posted..My Strawberry Cake Is Going to the DogsMy Profile

  106. Joann Kindermann
    July 18, 2011

    Wanted to share this with you. My son stop at a fruit stand for peches. Two young men were taking care of the stand. They had some peaches and when he ask them if they were freestone. They said “yes” they never have had chemicals on them. We got a laugh out of it.

    Trying your cloth idea this time. I will let you know. Thanks Joann

  107. Tom
    July 18, 2011

    That’s a good one Joan — had to laugh myself! Thanks for the visit!
    Tom recently posted..MacGyver Mom Takes On Mutant Alien DeerMy Profile

  108. Cori
    July 25, 2011

    Thanks, I’m trying this out with a box of peaches purchased from my co-op this weekend. We will enjoy them when they’re ripe and juicy and I will be canning lots to save for later :)

  109. Debbie
    July 28, 2011

    Thank you for posting this. I lost a few limbs on my peach tree a couple of weeks ago – well before they were ripe. I started some back on Saturday with cotton sheets and wow, how awesome they are doing. I think I got my first ripe one today, but now need to stop it so the others can catch up and the fact that I’m going out of town tomorrow, but back on Saturday. I told the peaches to behave. I just don’t want to be overwhelmed… ;-) A friend of mine tried this approach also as she picked some of my so not ripe peaches. She canned a couple today, so it’s working great for me and for her.

  110. Tom
    July 29, 2011

    Debbie that’s great. They’ll keep fine in the fridge after being fully ripened, but I don’t recommend keeping them in the fridge when they are unripe and then trying to ripen them, it tends to make them mealy.
    Tom recently posted..Every Time a Peach Is Bruised a Farmer CriesMy Profile

  111. Amber
    July 30, 2011

    Thanks for sharing this it has worked great! Will this process work for other fruits as well such as apricots?

  112. Tom
    July 30, 2011

    Hi Amber, yep I find it does work with other stone fruit like apricot, peaches, nectarines and plums.
    Tom recently posted..Every Time a Peach Is Bruised a Farmer CriesMy Profile

  113. Peachy at the Beachy
    August 1, 2011

    Tom, first I must start off by saying you are such an amazing man. If there ever was to be a peach Heaven than there is no doubt that you would be the Lord himself. Let’s just say, I would just HAVE to eat the forbidden fruit, yes I said it lol. As a child I would roam the peach fields wondering how to find the perfect peach, never knowing if I would ever find a true method. Now, I finally can rest and wonder no more, I now can spend my time eating these delectable little gifts from Heaven. I thank you very much and will continue to follow you in your travels. P.S always grab life by the horns, but don’t forget your peach ;)!!!
    Peachy at the Beachy recently posted..Every Time a Peach Is Bruised a Farmer CriesMy Profile

    • Tom
      August 4, 2011

      Thanks Peachy at the Beachy, after your kind comment, I’m feelin’ a bit special indeed ;-) Cheers!

  114. Larita
    August 2, 2011

    I’ve found if you wrap peaches in newspaper and place on the counter they ripen pretty fast. I use newspaper for avocados also.

    • Tom
      August 4, 2011

      Hi Larita, I use the wrapped newspaper method with my winter pears, as they are stored for a very long time. Thanks for visiting.

  115. Terry from Arkansas
    August 7, 2011

    I tried your peach ripening method and it worked just fine. Of four, one had a little mushy spot on the bottom but otherwise they were peach perfection. Thanks so much for sharing this tip. Gives me a use for my grandmother’s hand monogrammed linen towels. Sweet!

  116. Jon
    August 20, 2011

    Works like a charm! No more hard peaches…nor overly-ripe peaches!!

    • Tom
      August 21, 2011

      Jon, glad to hear it — excellent!

  117. orbops
    August 21, 2011

    I wonder if my cotton napkins were too thick? Or maybe the humidity was too high in the home (40%). I tried them on nectarines and plums, and after 2.5 days, they all got moldy on the stem side down area.

  118. Jsthvnf1
    August 22, 2011

    Thanks so much! I love to make fresh peach pie this time of the year but last week when I made one, the peaches were so hard, that my slices were all deformed, as I had such a hard time cutting them. I’ll try your way of ripening them first.

    I also like to slice some fresh peaches (about a 17lb lug), mix them with a 6oz can of frozen orange juice that I’ve allowed to thaw completely, 6 cups of sugar, and 6 tsp of Fruit Fresh. Then I put them in the freezer, and they are PERFECT whenever I want to use them!

  119. Cate
    August 24, 2011

    Thanks! We have the white peaches and they are really huge. We just bought this house so this is our first year with the peach tree. I’ll try your method, it sounds the best I’ve heard so far. :)

  120. Bill
    August 24, 2011

    Those masked 4 legged peach theives can be cut off at the pass by wrapping stove pipe around the trunk and main branches of your peach tree. About 2 in the morning you will hear racoon cursing and the sound of slipping claws on metal like fingernails on blackboard.

    • Tom
      August 27, 2011

      Bill, thanks for the tips!

  121. Cindy
    September 8, 2011

    I just bought 3 hard canteloupes for $1 after reading your peach-ripening tips. Do you think your method will work on them? Getting out the sheets now for the 40 pounds of Colorado peaches I just picked up. Fingers crossed!

  122. Colleen
    September 11, 2011

    Thank you so much for the wonderful way to ripen peaches! After returning with a box of peaches from Salmon Arm, BC, I discovered the bottom half were not ripe. I read your article on your blog and proceeded to take a cotton pillow case and lay it flat on the kitchen counter and arrange the peaches inside as you suggested, stem side down. In four days, I had sweet, luscious peaches that went from pale yellow and green to magnificent deep golden peach, red and yellow hues. Putting them in the pillow case was like an incubation that worked like a charm. I am dehydrating them for sweet snacks for fall hiking. Much appreciated!

  123. Tom
    September 11, 2011

    Cindy, I melons seem to only ripen a little after picking, nothing that ever ups the flavor and sweetest like a peach is capable of. Enjoy those forty pounds of heaven!

    Colleen, your comment is music to my ears. So glad it worked for you. Think I may go hi-tech and do a video to post on my blog about ripening peaches.

  124. Mary Lou
    September 28, 2011

    Thanks so much for your excellent blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it all. Now is the time to try it myself. Peaches are getting there, but not quite yet, just a little color and not much aroma. Tree is heavy and branches are now supported. Weather report has cold front coming into north eastern Ca. next week… should I just pick now and go for it?

  125. Tom
    September 28, 2011

    Hi Mary Lou, as long as you don’t get freezing temperatures you should be okay to leave peaches on the tree. Heavy rains may cause branch breakage and split peaches though. You pick some and experiment and see how they ripen off the tree as well if left on days or weeks later. I pick mine when the greenish tint of the skin mellows to yellow or red at the stem end. Good luck, let me know how it goes. And what variety is/are your tree(s)?

  126. Mary Lou
    September 28, 2011

    Thanks so much for your quick reply. I’m embarrassed to say that I know peaches are freestone, but I don’t know the name of tree. It’s amazing how many straps are holding the poor tree up. I’ll give you a report after the weekend. Thanks again… It’s just so late for all our trees, apple, pear and peach..all struggling to provide :)

  127. Karen Grant
    October 8, 2011

    Hi Tom. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog site. I have been ripening my nectarines, plums, pears, quinces and avocados this way for years, sometimes covering every table and counter top available during jamming season…a slow but rewarding process where I can take the occasional peek with out disturbing the other fruit, since I tend to go from left to right with the degree of ripeness. I buy my organic fruits from my local Marin County Farmers Market and sometimes pay upwards of $30 for a flat of stellar fruit I cannot afford to lose. I learned on my great-grandmother’s farm most of my practices, when they’de start picking with a vengence just before the fruit got fully ripe and the robins and cardinals swooped in for the annual forage…btw…have visited Vashon Island…it’s lovely. We pickedblueberries there 7 or 8 years ago. I also think an old pastry chef friend of mine opened a cafe there called Nola’s…
    Your New baking, canning, jamming, pickling friend, Karen Grant…Marin County, CA.

  128. Tom
    October 8, 2011

    Karen, great to meet you. My brother used to live in lovely and fruitful Marin County. I would always marvel at what could be grown there. So glad I have a new baking, canning, jamming, pickling friend. Nola’s is a fine place to eat over on Bainbridge Island in the town of Winslow. Wish they were on our island. ;-)

  129. Robert
    November 3, 2011

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks so much for the good ripening advice. I bought some D’Anjou pears about three weeks ago. I left them out in my kitchen to ripen (this was all before I read your post on how to ripen). After three weeks, they are still not ready yet. This seems very strange. Was the fruit picked too early? Are there chemcals or irradiation being used that would prohibit ripening and extend shelf life? Is there any way to tell the difference between pears that will take weeks to ripen and pears that will ripen in a week or less?

    • Tom
      November 3, 2011

      Hi Robert,
      Winter Pears are amazing keepers and also on their own time schedule. I picked up some D’Anjou pears recently and it took three weeks for them to ripen. Winter pears like D’Anjou only ripen off the tree, but I’ve never found a way to rush them into ripeness without finding a mealy, mushy end result.

      Bosc pears ripen quicker I’d say, as do Comice. And Seckel sugar pears do too, but are harder to find. There is a new pear hitting the markets from Europe, called Concorde and its delicious and ripens quickly. Bartlett is a summer pear and ripens the quickest. Hope this helps.

  130. Bev
    November 14, 2011

    I bought some nectarines (I live in South Africa, so it’s summer here) and they are rock hard. A Google search led me to your page. Thanks. Judging from the comments, I’m in for some lovely juicy fruit in a couple of days. I’ll definitely give your site further visits, and have already bookmarked it.

    • Tom
      November 14, 2011

      Thanks Bev, good luck it may take up to week to ripen the nectarines, I’ve found.

  131. Bev
    November 18, 2011

    Hi. Just thought I would let you know that I just had one of those “rock-hard” nectarines! It was wonderful and juicy. I should have eaten it in the shower, it was so good. Thanks Tom.

    • Tom
      November 18, 2011

      Ah Bev — that is awesome — glad it worked for you so well, cheers!

  132. MaryAnn
    March 12, 2012

    Thank you so much for this tip…Its not even peach season and I bought some from the store the other day hoping for sweet peaches. The paper bag never worked for me …always came out mealy and /or not sweet! I just tried the tea towels and perfection in the middle of winter! YAY Thank you so much …I was just about to give up thinking we just couldn’t get good peaches in NYC. Thanks to you I have hope again!

  133. Dana
    April 30, 2012

    I know I’m late to the party, but I wanted to say thanks for your advice. We Texans are enjoying butterflies and, consequently, fighting caterpillars this spring. They like my ALMOST ripe peaches far too much. I’m trying to save my peaches with your ripening technique.

    Can you suggest anything for tomatoes? I’ve heard these caterpillars like those too.

  134. Tom
    April 30, 2012

    Hi Dana, tomatoes are a little quirky, if they are not close to ripe on the vine, their flavor is less than robust. If you do pick them early, don’t refrigerate them. Keep them out at room temperature away from hot window temps and bright light. They will ripen slowly but surely. Good Luck.

  135. Frannie
    May 27, 2012

    THANK YOU SO MUCH ! I took your advice about how to ripen a peach – I put 2 of them between a linen cloth. WOW
    After two days I sliced one of them & could not believe how
    juicy & sweet it was. The best I’ve had in years. I’m now, not only a believer but will tell everyone I know how to do it. You are a wonder. Thanks, Frannie

  136. Dee Drew
    June 22, 2012

    Years ago a lady brought home canned bing cherries that she had been made in a solution like that of preparing green olives. Do you have such a recipe?

    • Tom
      June 22, 2012

      Hi Dee, I do not have such a recipe, but your inquiry piques my interest. Hmmm, I’m going to have to rifle through some old canning books and I’ll let you know what I find.

  137. Mike E.
    July 2, 2012

    Hello Tom,

    I had been going to ask about nectarines, but I see that someone has already asked that question.
    I bought some nectarines today (imported from Spain), and they were rock hard and unpleasant. I’ve set the rest to ripen as per instructions, and look forward to the result, so thank you. (I had been thinking of putting them in the airing cupboard*, but it sounds like that would have been a bad idea).

    I’m in the UK, and have noticed that this year, every single peach or nectarine I’ve bought has been unripe, (even those sold as “perfectly ripe” have been unripe, in contrast to last year. I imagine that the countries where we get them (typically Spain) have been having as bad a summer as us this year!

    (*Linen closet which includes the domestic hot-water tank – common in the UK – I gather not so common in the USA, where the hot water tank is probably in the basement)

    • Tom
      July 2, 2012

      Hello Mike, it’s the same here in the states, peaches are sold a bit unripe. The good news is it does save them from bruising and spoilage, the bad news is you just have to wait for them to ripen, and they usually do given time and breathing space. And you are right, our hot-water tanks are usually in the basement. I’d suggest keeping the peaches and nectarines in the open covered with the light cloth. A cabinet may be to humid if closed and cause it to mold quickly. Once the peaches are ripe you can refrigerate them, but it doesn’t work the other way. I would not store them in the fridge and then try to ripen them later, this tends to make them mealy and stunts flavor I believe. Good Luck!

  138. Rebecca
    July 3, 2012

    I bought a Cling tree a couple of years ago & everyone said “you have to have 2 trees for it to produce fruit”. I said “whatev” lol. It has fruit this year, but also ants. Do you think diatomous earth powder would put the ants down? I found a fallen peach with small holes in it, but not bruised…am going to try to ripen it…the first one I peeled. Is there a stage of pear that is sweet and good, but not grainy? I don’t even mind sour if it’s not bitter as well. Thanks

    • Tom
      July 3, 2012

      Hi Rebecca, most peach trees are self-fertile, meaning they don’t have to have another peach tree pollinator, though I think they produce more if you do. Ants are tough on peaches. What I suggest is gently wrapping some paper trunk tape around the trunk, and then apply tanglefoot in a three inch band around the trunk. If you apply it directly to the bark it burns the bark in bright sun. It’s hard to ripen fallen peaches, usually something is wrong with the peach if it falls prematurely, or perhaps a varmint knocked it off. Green peaches don’t ripen very well if at all, but peaches with blush and color though still firm, usually will if gently left under a thin weave towel like a mention here. Good luck!

  139. Cheryl McKinney
    July 6, 2012

    This is the third summer for our “Independence Day” nectarine, and wow!!! it has fruit! Here it is two days after July 4, the orbs are getting almost ripe, and the yard squirrels are having the very same enthusiastic reaction as we are. Hence I just now searched “how to ripen nectarines off the tree” and am delighted to find your article. Have used the same method to ripen green tomatoes but wasn’t sure about these nectarines. Sorry, squirrelitos, after tomorrow morning you’ll have sampled your last of the fruits.

    • Tom
      July 7, 2012

      Cheryl, isn’t amazing we get any fruit at all. I’m fighting raccoons, crows, squirrels and possums for anything that hangs off a tree. Good Luck! Happy juicy fruit!

  140. Gail
    July 14, 2012

    Tom, I live in central Oklahoma and this is the first year after planting a peach tree six years ago that we’ve had any peaches. (of course the first few years I picked off most of the buds to allow the tree to mature!). We had a bumper crop but like most of the rest of the people on this blog, the squirrels and birds have now discovered them as well and I’m sure possums and coons have as well! They all have some pretty red color to them so exasperated I picked all of them this morning and then jumped on the net and discovered your blog! Thank you so very much for all you do! My countertops are covered with peaches resting on tea towels now and I can’t wait for the first taste of my very first homegrown ripe peach! You have really helped a number of people here with your advice and wit and I for one am very grateful!!

    • Tom
      July 14, 2012

      Hi Gail, I hear ya, we’re always fighting for peaches with some varmint or natural mishap. Here’s to your sea of ripening of peaches. Eat up and enjoy! And thank you for your kind words of support, it means a lot to me, and is so fun to hear from folks around the ‘hood, country and globe.

  141. Suzanne
    July 14, 2012

    Hey Tom, I live in South Carolina and love, love really ripe peaches. I remove the skin, slice, and mash them in a bowl, add a little sugar, add milk, and serve with homemade biscuits. I sent a couple of frozen bags to my son, in the Army, stationed at Ft Lewis. Can’t wait to try your method for ripening peaches. Thanks

    • Tom
      July 14, 2012

      Hi Suzanne, I bet South Carolina wonderful peaches this time of year, and I really like your quick mashed jam recipe, and biscuits, did you say biscuits? Ah heaven! Thanks for visiting and safe travels to your son at Fort Lewis–just a stone’s throw from Mt. Rainier.

  142. Bryant
    July 15, 2012

    Tom, We live in the area of Asheville, NC. On both my nectarine and peach tree, when the fruit is ripe, they are almost flavorless. What is the problem? Not enough sun? Both trees get 3.5 to 4 hours of direct sun.
    Thanks for your input

    • Tom
      July 16, 2012

      Hi Bryant, good question. Unfortunately 3-4 hours of direct sun isn’t optimum. Fruit trees really need full sun to get that sugar machine cranking. I have couple huge fir trees that are now shading parts of my orchard, and fruit production has dropped off, and in my opinion, flavor compromised. Even a couple more hours of sunshine may help if you can trim away the other shading trees near the peaches. They also may just be a less flavorful cultivar. Check with a local nursery or fruit growers club and see what they have to say, too.

  143. Claudia
    July 27, 2012

    This is our first peaches from a tree we never planted. There are many beautiful peaches. We have no idea where the tree came from, it is full grown. We live in So. Cal. out in the hills. I rescued about 8 big peaches that the birds had not gotten to yet. Going to try your idea and then bake a pie. Where do you suppose the tree came from – birds or squirrels dropping a pit?

    • Tom
      July 27, 2012

      Wow, Claudia, what a gift! It’s remarkable that the peach tree thrived in a wild state that is with no irrigation or special care. And most peach trees need a chill period to produce fruit, so count yourself lucky. As for the origin of the tree, it may have been a bird or squirrel or lost hiker for that matter. Peach seeds grow true to the parent so it may have been a local peach from a nearby orchard.

  144. Josette
    July 28, 2012

    Thanks Tom! Will be eating perfect peaches soon. :)

  145. Cherie
    July 29, 2012

    Just wanted to say thanx for the peach ripening tip! Also…looks like you have the ideal life and I love your website!

  146. Wendy
    August 8, 2012

    Tom, I love your idea for ripening peaches but I have several boxes full of them. I don’t have enough room to spread them all out or even hardly any room to do that. I had to pick them because like you, the critters have been feasting on them. Is there a way to ripen a large quantity without having to separate them?

    • Tom
      August 9, 2012

      Good question Wendy, but air circulation is the key, so I wouldn’t recommend layering the peaches more than double layers, though single is my choice. Boxed up they will still ripen but may stick together, bruise and mold up at the point of contact. Do you have a wire pantry shelf of an empty bookcase or shelving? You could go single layer vertically. If you do stack them just be careful for bruised or rotting ones and remove them daily and it may just work. You just have to keep on it, spoilage can happen overnight, so to speak. Good luck! Tom

  147. Wendy
    August 14, 2012

    Thank you! It only took a couple of days and they softened up enough for me to make yummy peach jam. Wonderful advice! I appreciate your comments!!!!!! I am sad about the ones that I left on the tree to ripen up a bit more because when I went out to pick them, the birds had gotten to them. Darn birds, they like the fruit just as much as we do :)

  148. Zona
    August 17, 2012

    Hmm. Well, I have browsed my way down all the comments and I will def give this a try. I bought 40 lbs today from a local orchard, but they were cold (refrigerated) when they were handed off to me. I didn’t realize that might be a problem. I hope they’re going to be okay, not mealy as you say they may be. She said they would be ready to can tomorrow, but many of the bottom layer are at least half green and hard as can be. I like the idea of laying them out in ripeness order so I can can them as they ripen. By the way, here’s an addition to your repertoire of canned peaches recipes. I mix pineapple juice with white grape juice, hot-water treat and peel the peaches right into the large vat of juice. As the peaches release their juices too, the result is an amazingly delicious nectar. It also keeps the peaches from discoloring. I heat the nectar to a boil, pack peach halves into hot quart jars, fill with the boiling nectar and water bath them for 30 minutes. A little trick to keep jars from cracking when lowered into the hot water bath is to dip at least a quart of boiling water out and replace with cold water before setting the jars inside. I love your blog, Tom, and read it with enjoyment. I have hung out in the San Juans (mostly Orcas) quite a bit over the years, and would cheerfully live there, but the DH likes southern Oregon. Well, I like it too! It’s just very nice to get a bit of the island feel by reading your posts. Well done!

    • Tom
      August 17, 2012

      Hi Zona, I have to tell you the one thing I especially love about having a blog, is the exchanges of information and conversations that begin and continue throughout. As for your peaches, they’ll be okay if you don’t refrigerate before ripening. Keep them out and can those that are ripe and wait for the others to do their thing. I love your nectar recipe for canning peaches. Last year I tried amaretto, and sugar water. It was nice but even too sweet for me. This year I’m going to can some in sweetened dessert wines. It could be really great or really regrettable. I’ve had some recipes for berries in sweetened red wine and those were a quick bowl of happiness. Holy moly, they were good. I hear Southern Oregon is beautiful corner of an already beautiful state. One day perhaps I’ll see for myself. Again thank you for your kind and generous words. Tom

  149. Lin
    August 31, 2012

    I must say that I got much more than I bargained for …..loved all the comments.
    Found a peach tree….right up against an old chicken coop. More than a few years ago, I had a peach tree near that area, that was lost due to constructon. Can’t help but think that it grew from the pits left there from marauding ground hogs. The tree is covered in peaches, and I am sure that the local critters will find them and devour them if I leave them to ripen.

    Plan to ripen them with your method.
    Found my way here ….googled “how to ripen peaches” of course.
    Thank you!!!
    Happily planning peach pies!!

  150. Kathi
    September 1, 2012

    Thanks for the info. I live in the high desert of Nevada and peach harvests are “feast and famine” here.I picked about 40 peaches today because my tree branches are on the ground, but this year’s peaches are smaller than ever before and the ones I picked are very hard..as are those on the trees. Wish me luck!

  151. Laurelei
    September 8, 2012

    Thank you so much for this! Last week, I bought an amazing peach at the grocery store. They weren’t on sale but it is so rare to find I ripe one I bought it anyone (this single peach rang up at $1.74.) I am so happy for all of you that have trees! This week, the peaches went on sale and so I went back for more but this time they were rock hard. I bought them anyway and found your info went I was curious about how to ripen them. I had only one linen towel so I am using my grandmother’s old cotton aprons to ripen the rest ;)

    • Tom
      September 8, 2012

      Thanks Laurelei, and I bet those peaches felt honored by gently resting on your grandmother’s well-loved aprons. Thanks for the kind words, Tom

  152. Georgia Fowler
    October 2, 2012

    I am trying your ripening method but I have a question, I have the peaches on a spare bed should they be on a hard surface. I want to can some. Iam also using cloth cotton placemats for my linen. Is that ok.

    • Tom
      October 2, 2012

      Hi Georgia, I suspect the bed will work, just make sure you check the peaches daily as you don’t want a juicy mattress. ;-) And a cotton placemat would work fine, just something to keep the peach directly off of a hard surface and a cloth over them to keep fruit flies out and let ventilation in. Good luck, let me know how it goes! Tom

  153. Georgia Fowler
    October 2, 2012

    I have my peaches ripening on a spare bed, do they need to be on a hard surface. And also I am using cotton cloth placemats will that work?

  154. Heather [NZ]
    March 2, 2013

    Hello Tom, thanks for your advice. I just accidentally picked a peach – half sunkissed red/half mid green, and discovered that it was about two days from ripeness. It\’s one I grew from a peachstone, so it has no name, but fruited so well after three years that it now has plenty of tree children coming along. My problem is that the peaches fall off at the moment of ripe perfection and lose themselves in the undergrowth. Problem solved, thanks to you.

    • Tom
      March 2, 2013

      Thanks Heather, peaches are the perfect fruit for ripening off the tree. A lot fruits, like figs, won’t get any sweeter if picked too early. Lucky for us, a peach will ripen off the tree if picked a few days early.

  155. Lorri
    July 19, 2013

    Thank you for this post! We had pretty much stopped buying peaches because they never ripened and just went straight to mold. I’ve been using your method now for the past two years and we haven’t lost a peach yet! Last summer we had to evacuate ahead of a wild fire and in the course of getting out kids and cats and valuables, we left our newly bought peaches on the kitchen counter, between two cotton cloths. When we returned home a few days later, not only was our house ok, but our peaches were still good and ready to be eaten!
    Lorri recently posted..California Dreamin&#8217;My Profile

    • Tom
      July 19, 2013

      Thanks Lorri, appreciate the feedback and glad to hear your house was okay. Bet that was a frightening ordeal, but one that made better by an intact house and a fresh bowl of peaches.

  156. Tasha K
    August 7, 2013

    This worked! My husband bought twenty pounds of lovely white peaches from a local grower but sadly they were all rock hard. So I googled the best way to ripen them and this was the first result. Since I don’t have tea towels or linen napkins I simply layed the peaches as directed on my tablecloth covered table and draped cotton pillow cases over them. They are ripening beautifully and SO yummy!

    • Tom
      August 7, 2013

      That is great to hear Tasha, thanks for letting me know. Tom

  157. Shanna sites
    August 7, 2013

    Could you use sheets for A LOT of peaches, we had a peach tree break and I need a way to save them, help!

    • Tom
      August 7, 2013

      That should work, just nothing heavy like terry cloth or bath towels.

  158. Lynn M
    August 9, 2013

    Hi Tom! I have an abundance of peaches on my tree, not quite ripe yet but close, and we are leaving for a two week vacation. Is it OK to pick them, place them in the fridge until we get back, and then proceed to ripen them between the cotton towels? I want to be able to use them all winter long for pies and cobblers. Also, when you cut them in half and freeze them on a cookie sheet and then place in a bag when frozen, do you have to use Fruit Fresh to keep them from turning brown? Also when you are ready to use them, do you peel the peach halves before or after thawing them? Thanks so much in advance for your reply and I love all of your great advice!!!

    • Tom
      August 9, 2013

      Hi Lynn, your peach tree has bad timing. ;-)
      Lynn, you probably don’t have a choice but I find peaches once ripened, do keep well in the refrigerator. But sometimes if you chill for long periods of time before the peach are ripen, they don’t ripen well when removed and end up mealy and cottony, with not much juice. I don’t use Fruit Fresh, but I do use lime juice. And I’m a bit odd (for most folks) in that I never peel fruit, just a personal preference. I say don’t peel as the peel usually comes off when thawed anyway. Have a great vacation, hope this helps. If no other choice, refrigerate the peaches.

  159. LBC
    August 12, 2013

    OMG–this is amazing! I stopped buying peaches years ago because they were never any good. Now I can buy peaches again! Mine took about four days under a huck towel, and went from baseballs to fragrant, juicy, honest-to-goodness, peaches.

    • Tom
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks LBC, ah I love hearing of peach ripening converts!

  160. Jan
    August 20, 2013

    Hi! After reading through all of the comments on this post I think I may have found just the right person to help me. Three years ago we planted a Harrow variety peach tree in our backyard here in Southwestern Ontario. The tiny tree gave us 40 peaches the first year but the second year nothing due to early March warming and April frost. This year our ‘little’ tree has gotten REALLY big and is carrying the weight of 20-50 peaches per branch. They just started to get their lovely reddish colour the past week or so and some are big and some are rather small. It is late August here, the proper time for harvesting this variety and I went out to pick one that felt heavy and slightly soft as if it would be perfect to eat. The flesh was not mealy but was lighter in colour than I imagined it would be and although the texture was great the peach was still quite tart. Should I be picking and ripening with your method before animals decided to come calling? And can I decide to pick based on the colour they have turned even if they are hard? I’m bound and bent on having peaches this year LOL!

    • Tom
      August 21, 2013

      Hi Jan, I’m a bit envious of your peach tree. Mine peach trees are all without fruit as we had a wet spring and no pollination. Here’s what I’d do. Since the texture seems good and the peaches are still tart, stagger your picking. Pick a couple dozen of the ripest looking peaches, those with good color and size and allow to ripen inside, using the method in this post. Then maybe wait a couple days and do the same thing and then wait another couple days and pick and ripen some more. You may wish to wait for the tree to drop a peach or two, which would be a good signal to start picking. In that case I’d pick a good amount and set aside to fully ripen, as the varmints will be right behind you licking their chops waiting to ransack the tree. Hope this helps.
      Tom recently posted..Summer Snapshots: On the Porch, Around the IslandMy Profile

      • Jan
        August 21, 2013

        Well if I could send you some peaches I would! It went a little crazy and we’ve got it tie strapped to our fence to keep it from falling over! Staggering the picking sounds like a really good plan. Hopefully some of the smaller ones will get bigger!

        Thank you SO much for your advice. My kids would be absolutely devastated if we lost our peaches two years in a row. They have been so excited!

        I often use a particular phrase when commenting on how nice and helpful someone is. And how fitting that this phrase suits you :) “You’re a peach!”

        Thanks again :)

  161. Miss C.
    August 21, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your ripening method!! I tried it with two peaches and two white nectarines, all very hard with no give. I also tried it with two pluots to see if they’d get juicier. All six fruit were smooth and velvety, extra juicy, and flavorful! No more brown paper bags to ripen my stone fruit…I appreciate you.

    • Tom
      August 21, 2013

      Thanks Miss C.
      And I appreciate you taking the time to let me know it work!

  162. Aggie Hay
    September 22, 2013

    I live in upstate NY. Purchased a basket of late season peaches from a local farm market 3 days ago to freeze. In reading the many questions from readers and your responses to them, I believe the peaches I purchased were refrigerated before they were put on the market. Been waiting for them to ripen and took one to test for ripeness. Upon peeling and cutting into it, the peach was mealy and grainy and had no flavor. I ended up throwing them over our back fence into the woods behind our house for the animals to eat. I didn’t have this problem with earlier peaches. Next year I will freeze the earlier varieties. Please comment!

    • Tom
      September 23, 2013

      Aggie, I agree, I have had the same problem late in the season with peaches. Not sure what is different to make them mealy and spoiled around the pit. My hunch is the peaches are stored too long and re-refrigerated to extend the season. This is speculation on my part, though. This month was the first time I had mushy, mealy peaches, very disappointing. I mash them up and add mashed apples and make mixed fruit jelly out of them. Nice combo. Thanks for the visit. Tom

  163. Lori
    January 21, 2014

    Hello Tom,

    A couple of comments:

    I’ve been ripening peaches (picked green to avoid them being destroyed by possums), by sitting them in a square “cup”of newspaper, stem side down, in a shallow box next to one another. The newspaper has kept them from touching one another, and the tops of the peaches are exposed to the air. While peaches left touching one another in a box or bucket have quickly gone bad, those sitting in their newspaper cups have all perfectly kept the several days needed for their ripening. I’m wondering if the secret is not touching and air flow to the peach rather than the particular material surrounding them.

    I have noticed that the bottoms of the peaches (the side exposed at the top) has ripened before the stem sides (down sides). If we have any more peaches to ripen I’ll try your tea towel idea, plus try some in the newspaper but lay a sheet of newspaper over the top of the tray to see if the peaches then ripen more evenly top and bottom.

    If you or any of your readers know any tasty recipes for using green, hard peaches I’d appreciate them. I have a number of peaches which have been partly eaten by birds or possums and want to use those in some way. Chutney Maybe?

    Thanks, Tom

    • Tom
      January 21, 2014

      Lori, I think you make a good point. While I use linen towels to ripen peaches, I would think any material that doesn’t damage the skin, doesn’t hold excessive moisture, and encourages air flow will work. I keep my pears wrapped in newspaper during storage and it surely works for that. Good thinking, as it’s a lot easier to find newspaper than linen towels. As for green peach recipes, that is something I’ll have to research a little. I’ve never heard of one which leads me to believe that they are pretty sad substitutes for ripe peaches in any canning or preserving foray.

  164. Deanna LaFevre
    February 5, 2014

    This is a question I have about unripened peaches. I live in central Ohio & the only time to get good peaches is in early fall. However, I shop at a meat?variety small store & they peel , cut & freeze their peaches BEFORE they are completely ripened. :( So, I bought a bag at a hefty price & they were terrible because they were frozen before ripened. My question is: Is there any way to thaw & ripen the peaches after they have been frozen this way. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Tom
      February 5, 2014

      Hi Deanna, sorry to say I know of no way to ripen a frozen peach. Unfortunately the fruit is no longer alive and can only go down hill and rot if not used quickly after thawing.

  165. Chris
    June 10, 2014

    Peach lover who has never eaten a ripe, fresh peach!

    I love peaches, but I’ve only ever eaten them out of a jar. When we first got them in this year at my store, they were $3.99 a pound so I kept with my jarred peaches. But now they’re a lot cheaper, so I bought a bunch. I’ve bitten into two so far and they tasted horrible! The first was before I googled about ripeness and the second was days later, hoping it was ripe.

    Now, like 4 days later, they’re still hard rocks. I’ve got them in a towel now though, hoping your method will work! I really want a ripe peach! The nectarines I bought ripened very fast. These peaches are stubborn.

    • Tom
      June 10, 2014

      Chris, Hold fast to your patient ways, they will ripen, sometimes it takes a full week or more. Glad it worked so quickly on the nectarines. Best regards, Tom

  166. Stefanie
    June 11, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing your peach expertise! Last summer my daughter was just old enough to eat solids and I assumed a soft peach would make a great first food. I was very disappointed that the peaches I purchased were too hard to serve to my toothless infant. She has a full mouth of teeth now, but I will definitely try your trick so that my little one can truly experience the deliciousness of summer from some sweet and ripe peaches.

    • Tom
      June 11, 2014

      Oh good, a future peach lover! Glad to help.

  167. Jasmine
    July 11, 2014

    Hi Tom,
    Great info. We live in northern spain and our peach trees are heavy with lots and lots of peaches this year, our biggest crop yet. A few have blown off and I´ll be ripening them following your advice. I have a question though that I thought you might be able to answer, many of the peaches have a large deep dimple, what might have caused this and what kind of effect will it have on the fruit?

    • Tom
      July 11, 2014

      Hi Jasmine, the dimple shouldn’t cause any problems, other than sometimes it’s so deep the peach splits open before ripening and sometime the pit splits and insects may find their way in the center of the fruit, coming in from the stem top. I’m not sure what causes this, perhaps rapid spring growth and heavy watering or rains, but again, that’s just speculation. Good Luck!

      • Jasmine
        July 11, 2014

        Thanks Tom, I´ll keep an eye on them and watch for insects getting in there. Now that I know that even if I need to pick them early I´ll still be able to enjoy juicy peaches. In the past the ones that fell off early would slowly shrivel on our countertop as we waited for them to ripen.
        Mmm I can´t wait.

  168. Beth
    July 30, 2014

    I have a bushel of peaches to ripen and I want to try your method, but don’t have any linen or cotton napkins or tablecloths. Do you think sheets would work?

    • Tom
      July 30, 2014

      Hi Beth, sheets work fine, anything that’s breathable, though I find terry cloth is a bad choice. You can also place the peaches on top of folded paper grocery bags, and then maybe cover with a pillow case. Just a thought. Good luck.

  169. Anne
    August 19, 2014

    Tom, I ordered a box organic peaches from a wholesaler in our area. They had been refrigerated, and were a bit hard, so I spread them out on the dining table assuming they’d ripen a bit. Well, within a day, some of them started to soften and mold in spots. Will I be able to now use your method, as I only have discovered your website because I’m desperate to save the rest of them. Should I refrigerate any that have started to get the soft spot that is quickly turning to mold and destroying the peach?

    • Tom
      August 19, 2014

      Hi Anne, I’d suggest not refrigerating them again, unless they are fully ripe. You may want to just remove the moldy ones, eat was is viable, and wait for the rest to ripen on their own on the table. It may be that some are bruised and that hastens mold. Perhaps the rest will ripen accordingly. It’s hard to tell, not knowing how the wholesaler treated the peaches before reaching you. I’ve found back and forth refrigeration and room temperature on a unripe peach, tend to make it mealy and less than optimal. The peaches won’t ripen further if refrigerated green and mold-prone. I hope you get some goods ones out of the box. Good luck!

  170. Deborah
    September 13, 2014

    Do you have any suggestions for how to ripen strawberries and grapes?

    • Tom
      September 13, 2014

      Hi Deborah, Strawberries and grapes are two fruits you want to leave on the plant and vine, respectively, until ripe. Not much flavor or good comes from picking these two fruits too early in the ripening cycle.

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