The Best Way to Ripen Peaches{292}

Peaches, dripping with juices, when left to ripen

Peaches, dripping with juices, when left to ripen

A Ripe Peach Is Worth the Wait

I love peaches too much to eat them as the rock hard flavorless orbs we’ve come to expect from the local grocer.  It’s worth every penny to buy from local growers or grow peaches yourself as it seems impossible to ship perfectly ripe peaches. Heck, I can’t take a bag full of my peaches to a neighbor across the street without having jam upon arrival.

After years of trying many techniques, I believe I’ve found the best way to ripen a peach if picked too early or trucked in from another local and picked firm.  It’s simple and it works.

Avalon Pride Peach

Avalon Pride Peach picked while firm and left to ripen off of the tree on my dining room table.

How to Ripen a Peach to Juicy Perfection

Step 1: Selection

Please, never squeeze a peach as you basically ruin it. The bruised tissue just rots and begins to consume the peach in a matter of hours. It took a full year to grow that peach, show a little respect. Select firm, unbruised peaches with nice color, full shape and nice weight for the size.

Beauty and the beastly (if not grubby) garden hand

Beauty and the beastly (if not grubby) gardeners hand

Step 2: Nap Time for Your Peaches

  • Place the peach or nectarine stem side down on a linen napkin, pillowcase, or cotton woven towel, as these fabrics breathe.  Forget  terry cloth as it holds moisture and tends to encourage mold and cut into soft ripe peach skin. (You are free to roll your eyes, but this works.) You could also set the peaches on (not in) a folded flat paper bag, another worthy nap pad.
Tucking in the peaches: nighty, night, sleep tight

Tucking in the peaches: nighty, night, sleep tight

Step 3: No Direct Sunlight

  • Make sure the fruit doesn’t touch and is kept in a cool place out of the sun.

Step 4. Keep Peaches Undercover

  • Cover your peaches up with another linen napkin, cotton cloth, or pillowcase. This shades the peaches and keeps any hungry insects at bay.
Let your treasure rest and ripen.

Let your treasure rest and ripen.

Step 5: Gauging Ripeness

Peaches are ripe when they smell like a peach and the stem side is pressed down a bit from the weight and softening of the peach as it ripens. The resulting peach: perfumed, juicy, soft, delectable. Ripening can take anywhere from a couple days to a week.

Step 6: Eat or Refrigerate Once Ripe

If you have too many that ripen at once, you can refrigerate them to stop the ripening, but that’s only if you can’t eat five to six peaches a day. Once refrigerated, the peaches should be eaten or used in the next few days.

Perfectly ripe white peach (Charlotte): patience well rewarded.

Perfectly ripe white peach (Charlotte): patience well-rewarded.

The juicy white peach above was slightly unripe and hard when picked. Four days later after its spa treatment between two linen napkins, the peach was a juice bomb of sugar. I picked them early to beat out marauding raccoon that had discovered the tree.

My (Amatuerish) Video: The Best Way to Ripen Peaches

Here’s to ripe peaches and pie in your life!

Peach pie: one of the best things about summer!

Peach pie: one of my favorite things about summer!