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The Best Way to Ripen Peaches

The Best Way to Ripen Peaches
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!


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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. 😉

    • 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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

      • Cantaloupes are ripe when the flesh between the “lines” on the skin isn’t green and they come off of the vine easily. I LOVE fresh melon too!

      • The problem I’ve had with cantelopes is that they rot within a few days, way before they have time to ripen. A few years ago, I asked myself, “What could safely retard fungal growth, so my cantelope has time to ripen?”

        I decided to try vinegar. And–It worked!

        I had to apply the vinegar every day, especially where the stem had been cut to harvest the cantalope. I cut into them when the stem end smells ripe. It’s a lovely aroma.

  13. <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>

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

    • The problem I’ve had with cantelopes is that they rot within a few days, way before they have time to ripen. A few years ago, I asked myself, “What could safely retard fungal growth, so my cantelope has time to ripen?”

      I decided to try vinegar. And–It worked!

      I had to apply the vinegar every day, especially where the stem had been cut to harvest the cantalope. I cut into them when the stem end smells ripe. It’s a lovely aroma.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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?

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

  22. 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

  23. 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?

  24. 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! 🙂

  25. 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!)

  26. 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!

  27. 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!!

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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?

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

    • 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

    • 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.

  42. 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 🙂

  43. 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.

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

  50. 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.) … 🙂

  51. 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?

  52. 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!

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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?

  58. 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.

  59. 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!

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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!

  63. 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.

  64. 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?

  65. 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.

  66. 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 !!

  67. 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

  68. Tom,
    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

    • 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.

  69. 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

    • 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


  70. 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!!!

  71. 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.

  72. 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!

  73. 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 🙂

  74. 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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 🙂

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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 ;)!!!

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

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

  83. 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!

  84. 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. 🙂

  85. 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.

  86. 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!

  87. 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!

  88. 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.

  89. 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?

  90. 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)?

  91. 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 🙂

  92. 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.

  93. 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. 😉

  94. 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?

    • 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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!

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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

  101. 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?

    • 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.

  102. 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)

    • 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!

  103. 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

    • 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!

  104. 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.

    • 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!

  105. 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!!

    • 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.

  106. 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

    • 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.

  107. 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

    • 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.

  108. 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?

    • 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.

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

  110. 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?

    • 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

  111. 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 🙂

  112. 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!

    • 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

  113. 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!!

  114. 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!

  115. 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 😉

  116. 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.

    • 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

  117. 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?

  118. 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.

    • 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.

  119. 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!

    • 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.

  120. 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!

  121. 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!!!

    • 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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 🙂

  124. 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.

  125. 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!

    • 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

  126. 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

    • 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.

      • Chutney is what my grandmother, Ruby Benge, made when we had too many green peaches fall off the tree. I grew up in the Texas panhandle, and peaches were the only sort of stone fruit we were able to grown. They were much smaller than peaches grown in other areas (12 inches per year of rainfall dwarfs the fruit according to my Ma-Ma always told me.). But there were tons of them and the flavor was more intense than any peaches I’ve tasted since.

        My Aunt Jane and cousin Janey Kay would come from Brownfield, and my mom, my grandmother and both my sisters, Patty and Amme, would gather at our Ma-Ma’s house and process peaches all day. The kitchen was not very big, so we spread into the dining room and Ma-Ma always made it a funny game when we bumped into each other or dropped something. She had a lot of patience!

        One year, we had such a bumper crop, that even after making 3 years worth of jam, preserves and canned peaches, there were lots left, some green. MaMa decided to try something she had read about called, ‘chutney.’ She had clipped a recipe for chutney out of her newspaper, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. (Funny name since it almost never snowed and when it did it was just a dusting, as one would expect in a semi-arid climate).

        She used peaches instead of apples and it was delicious! We became instant fans of Indian food. Well, all expect my baby sister, Amme, who was a very picky eater.

        • Frances, what a wonderful recollection. I love stories that center around memories of food, family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story here.

  127. 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.

    • 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.

  128. 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.

    • 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

  129. 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.

  130. 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?

    • 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!

      • 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.

  131. 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?

    • 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.

  132. 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?

    • 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!

    • 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.

  133. Tom –
    We have a peach tree. A branch broke due to the weight of numerous peaches. Most of them are far from ripe. (We are in Albuquerque, NM.)
    Do you think that trick could work for those peaches. Some were starting to turn peach color, but most were green still.
    Worth a try?


    • Hi Jane, sorry to hear of the breakage. I’ve only had luck with firm to very firm peaches with color present. Green peaches are usually just not far enough the ripening stage to fully ripen and sweeten with age. Sorry.

      • Tom –
        Thanks. I tried it for a couple of weeks….they softened, but didn’t ripen as you suggested. I did save about half of them and made a really nice cobbler.
        Thanks again

  134. Hi Tom, I’m so glad I found your site. I bought peaches and nectarines on sale today at the store and, of course, they were hard. I picked out nice ones and put them in the fridge with one of those ball things with some substance in it that is supposed to absorb the gas produced by the fruit. I thought I’d leave them there for a few days and ripen them in a paper bag later in the week for jam (after I finish with the blueberry, mango, and papaya jam!). Then I found your site and found that they shouldn’t have been refrigerated before ripening. Oh nooo! So I took them out quickly and put them on cotton towels and covered them. They were only in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 hours. Did I ruin them already? I could buy more while they’re still on sale. Also, somewhere in your answers to questions you said something about also not refrigerating tomatoes before they are ripe. You should never, ever refrigerate tomatoes even when they’re ripe! Refrigerating them will just make them watery and they will loose their sweetness. You should only refrigerate them after they’re cut & you don’t use it all. Anyway, thanks for your advice and help.

  135. I’m so glad I read your instructions. I bought some peaches on sale, did exactly as you said and each peach was fantastic!!! I almost gave up on store bought peaches. Thank you. Jim

  136. Tom, thank you so much for such a great blog!!! I’m forever grateful.
    I am printing this out as “instructions” for those friends and neighbors that I am dropping off my excess peaches to 🙂
    My peaches came earlier this year and while trying to salvage as many as possible (from the birds),I ruined a few by trying to ripen in a paper bag. The mold spreading from peach to peach as they were piled on top of each other :/.
    Because I’m kind of a peach hoarder, and hate to see a good peach go to waster, is it possible to pick some of the minimally bird pecked ones and just cut off where they have pecked? As these of course, these are the ones that have tree ripened.
    So glad you are still answering questions in 2015 :):):)


    • Hi Carolyn, You know I bet it would help, as cantaloupes can ripen more after picking off the vine. Watermelons do not ripen further though. I’d keep the cantaloupe at room temperature and wait for it to smell aromatic, or soften a bit or you could hear the seeds slush around when you shake the melon. With so many varieties, each has its own ripening cues. These are just a few suggestions. Hope this helps.

  137. The August sun quickly warmed the morning air while my enthusiastic daughter cajoled me into leaving the u-pick orchard with over thirty-five pounds of the jewel toned wonders. With every peach added to our cache I envisioned the work ahead. Her eagerness to preserve the juicy delights was tempered with “mom vision” of knowing who would ultimately do the work. I know thirty-five pounds is not an excessive amount but being as I just recently graduated to life without crutches, I was still operating on limited energy reserves…

    All that to say, I needed help in knowing how to properly store the peaches as I made my way through them (making jam and freezing them) whereupon I stumbled upon your video. The combination of information and humor made for an entertaining education! I chuckled throughout the video enjoying the passionate presentation of your love of peaches. I placed them on paper bags and covered them with smooth dish towels… remembering NOT to use terry cloth! They lasted nearly a week as I made my way through them and I didn’t lose nary a one! Thanks for the smiles 🙂

  138. Thank you for this information. I have always used the paper bag method which was never a problem in the past. But now, as of the last 6 months or so, it seems peaches are different. They look okay but when I knife into it to eat away I get a big bite of really heavy dry texture taste. Not that juicy sweet taste I fell in love with. It’s such a disappointment because I end up tossing it out. Lately, it has only become worse. I am going to give your method a shot. I wonder if it will work the same with mango…… Anyway, I’m frustrated and have been thinking it was the peaches the stores were buying. Maybe a bit of both. Thanks and I’ll give you an update on my next purchase. 🙂

  139. I just found your blog tonight and was happy that it is still open to comments after being started 2009!

    I found this site after googling “ripening peaches in microwave”. I was wondering if that was a thing that folks did, after discovering that I just (accidently) ripened peaches in conventional oven. I had purchased 4 lovely but stone hard peaches more than a week ago…they have been sitting on my counter in a plastic bag where I hoped that they would eventually ripen. The other night I needed counter space, so I put the peaches (which were in a plastic bag which was inside a bowl) into the oven promising myself to remember to take them out. Well of course, I DID forget and turned on my oven to preheat to make corn bread the next day. When I opened the door to insert the pan, to my shock, I saw the peaches in the plastic bag which had shriveled and was close to melting.

    I quickly took the bowl out, laughed at myself and expected to toss the lot. But when I handled the peaches they were beautiful (their blush had deepened) and they “felt” just right to my hand. Well, I know heated plastic is a hazard, but……heck, I could handle a little poison fumes and just had to try one peach. DELICIOUS. I’m going to keep the others and eat them too. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I then began to wonder if it would work (sans plastic) in the microwave or oven. I may experiment with some other hard peaches.

    P.S. about pears…..I live in Harry & David territory and every home in older neighborhoods has at least one pear tree. I could never figure out why they always went from too hard, to grainy mush stage. Then I read a newspaper article that pears need a period of cold storage and that the reason you may find properly ripened ones in the store is that most have already been treated to that chilling before they go on grocery shelves. So, the recommendation was to chill them in the fridge first (a few days I thin) and then let them ripen on counter.

    • Wow Kristina, I’m scratching my head on this one. I know of no quick way to ripen a peach, so this is quite interesting. I wonder if the peaches were actually ripe after the week of sitting on the counter and the oven just slightly cooked them. Peaches can still be firm to touch and be ripe, and many new varieties are bred for transport to market without bruising. And as for winter pears, like Comice, Bosc, and Anjou, yes cold storage is imperative for a high quality pear to reach its best state of eating. Cheers!

  140. I will try to find some more hard peaches and see if I can duplicate the ripening. I had preheated to 400 degrees and opened oven about 10 minutes later. I’m also curious if the plastic bag had something to do with it…if the gas emitted by it enabled ripening. I hope not as I sure wouldn’t do that on purpose!

    I considered that they may have naturally ripened, but I swear they were VERY hard for possibly close to 2 weeks so the fact they they were so perfect after their hot shock treatment was a happy curiosity.

    If my experiment does not repeat, I can always try the napkin wrap recommended here, sounds like everyone agrees that it works!

  141. Any idea what kind of peaches I am growing? I bought a Japanese Plum tree several years ago, and a sucker jumped the graft. That sucker is now 2/3 of the tree and producing mountains of peaches. (I also get some plums. )
    It is late September in Western Colorado at 6000 feet, and they are not ripe yet.
    The weight of the peaches broke a couple of branches, so that 50 # is sitting under sheets talking a nap (thank you! )
    They are fairly small and definitely cling. But I did not buy a peach tree, so I would love to know what kind they are.

    • Nancy if the skins are very dark purple, they may be Peche de Vigne, a vineyard peach that produces very late in the season and is cling and tough as nail, thus it’s used as rootstock sometimes. I can’t say for sure as I’m no expert on rootstock. Hope this helps a little.

  142. Tom, great video. I also noticed that you put the peaches stem side down. I can’t wait until next season to try it. Thank you.

    • Hi Frank, yep no science there, I just place them stem-side down to keep them in place and it seems to be the flattest spot on the peach. It’s also how peaches are shipped so I thought, yep that makes sense. 🙂

  143. Hi Tom
    Found your blog through Google (of course) when, yet again, the rats were threatening to take all of my peaches. You may think this is a funny time to be picking peaches but I am in Adelaide, South Australia! So, I have now picked some of my peaches (and put traps out for the rats…) in various stages of ripeness from green to firm with a slight aroma and am trying your method. Fingers crossed! I will love you forever if this works! From a distance, of course…

  144. Hi Tom
    Found your blog on Google (naturally…) after the rats are threatening to take all of my peaches yet again. So, I have now picked some in various stages of ripeness from green to hard but with a little aroma and will give your method a try. You may think that this is a funny time to be picking peaches but I am in Adelaide, South Australia! If this works I will love you forever. From a distance of course….

    • I hope this works for you Sue, and believe it or not I’ve been to your beautiful city of Adelaide — a little slice of heaven, indeed. Thanks for the forever love, nothing like a little adoration to put a smile on my face. Take care. Tom.

  145. G’day Tom, from sunny Burrell Creek, Australia.
    I have read and reread many of your tips, had a glut of peaches this year, lost many to fruit bats/flying foxes, fruit fly and the birds.
    Still managed to save a few dishes for friends and family.
    Have another problem I am hoping you can solve.
    Have a beautiful fig tree, a very heavy bearer, at present loaded with green figs. The minute they start to darken up, all the pests arrive, mainly the flying foxes and parrots/cockatoos.
    They eat half a fig then throw it on the ground. I love my figs and manage to get a few almost dark brown/black, but not many. I am also told that ”you havn’t eaten a ripe fig unless it was picked up off the ground” that apparently is what they do when fully ripe.
    My question is, will your peaches ripening method work for figs, and if so, at what stage can I start the ripening process?
    Have just put three on linen and covered by linen to see what happens.Love your blog.

    • Hi Rob, Sorry to say, figs don’t ripen off of the tree. The do soften, but that’s more about rotting than producing more sugars. When still on the tree, try loosely wrapping figs with aluminum foil, sort of like a tin hat or cone from the stem. Though labor intensive, it still allows me to get a decent number of ripe figs for my table and not the varmints’. Good Luck!

  146. Hi Tom
    Our peach tree has loads of peaches this year, but even though they seem to be ripe (good colour, a little soft to touch, easy to pick), they are not at all sweet. Do you know what could cause this? Maybe is should have thinned some the peaches from the tree when they were green and had fewer peaches? The peach tree is about four years old and had lovely sweet peaches last year, but not so many.

    • Deborah, I’ve had similar issues. The peach fruit grows rapidly in the last month and conditions like drought, or weather conditions, can affect sweet ness and sugar production in the fruit. I’d say make sure the peaches are well watered during the later part of fruit production, say a month or two before picking dates. Thinning also helps with creating bigger sized fruit that may have more concentrated flavor. Sometimes it just seems like a crapshot though. Good luck — happy harvest!

  147. I don’t know if you can help. We bought a house with a peach tree. Last year, they were sweet but mis-shapen more like a crab apple. It makes it hard to cook with. Any suggestions?

    • If they were small, and mis-shapen Gail, I’d think they would benefit from being thinned with really small peaches. That way more energy is brought into the fruit, which produces a larger fruit. Here’s a great video on how to do that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTAZK3Nl-PE It’s painful to watch because you hate to remove fruit, but it really does improve the size and quality of the fruit left ripen. Good luck!

  148. Re: ripening stone fruit. You mention putting the fruit in “a cool place”. The only cool place in my un-air conditioned, Virginia house in the Summer is the fridge.
    Any suggestions?

    • Hi JoAnn, good point. I live on a cool maritime coast so, too much heat is rarely a problem here. I still think you would be fine if you keep them room temperature, just not in direct sunlight and then monitor them daily. They will just ripen much faster for you than I’m used to here. I just wanted folks to be careful not to put the peaches in direct sun, like on a windowsill. If the peaches were poorly handled or bruised in transit, that will be the area fungus and mold may take over, thus the daily monitoring. I spent time in Virginia as a kid, so I know what kind of heat and humidity you’re talking about. 😉

  149. I cover my peach trees with a poly .5″x.5″mesh net which you can buy at Lowes for next to nothing. If the tree is bigger than a single net, we seam them together with clothespins which work great and then cover the tree. We don’t have raccoons where we live, but it certainly keeps the birds from pecking them. They are absolutely delicious ripened on the tree.

  150. Words cannot express how grateful I am to this article, and how much I am looking forward to far fewer moldy peaches in the future (I had been softening them in paper bags). There is almost nothing better than a fresh peach dessert. Thank you! What a difference you have made to so many peaches and people 🙂

    • Thank you Sonya, your kind words make me smile. I really love that this technique works and is easy, and only takes a little time, patience and counter space. Cheers! Tom

  151. Today has been very quiet and without interruption from the marauding eastern fox squirrels – non-native to California but they like the climate. My Indian Free Peach tree is now offering shade only on my apartment patio but for the last month this little patch of paradise has been a war zone. The squirrels would munch on the unripened peaches and after a few bites would drop them to the ground because of the astringent taste. The power-wash setting on my watering wand wouldn’t keep them from coming back the next day and soon I was down to a dozen fruit. I stripped the tree of the remaining rock hard peaches and brought them inside to ripen. That wasn’t happening soon enough so I sliced one and cooked it in a little fresh OJ with cherries and grapes and sugar. Wow! So good that I then made a batch of peach and blueberry jam with the rest. A fine combination!

  152. Am so glad I found your site today. My small peach volunteer peach tree doesn’t usually produce edible fruit. Last year the weather did not cooperate, froze the blooms. To my amazement this year I gave 5 or 6 dozen good size pretty colored peaches. After finding 2 gnawed on in the yard I picked the remainder and plan on canning then. Hope they all ripen at the same time! Miriam

  153. Trying this ripening method today. Look forward to ripe peaches. Thanks for taking the time to share this article.

  154. Hello, I recently purchased some Georgia peaches from a produce truck, they were already refrigerated when we picked them up, because of that I put them in the fridge when I got home they are rock hard and on the tart hard crunchy side to eat. Can I try this method of ripening after they have been in the fridge??

    • Hi Debbie, I’d sure give it a try. The less refrigeration before ripeness the better, but if they’re rock hard, what do you have to lose. And don’t be surprised if it doesn’t take 4-5 days (7 days for me in the cool Pacific NW). Some peaches remain pretty firm so also check for fragrance, that dreamy peach smell that says, “summer!”

  155. I honestly didn’t believe this would work. I’ve tried everything to get those derned nectarines to ripen. I am not a peach fan because I don’t like the fuzzy, but I still like the skin. I don’t peel fruits an veggies. It’s against my religion. That or I’m just really lazy. Anywho, I decided to give this a try. The hardest part was coming up with linen napkins. I knew I had some tucked away in a deep dark corner of my not very organized house. Voila! Napkins were found, experiment began. I decided to try it on avocados as well. We have an avocado tree that isn’t in season yet, but we always have to pick the fruit before it is ripe, or it becomes fodder for the squirrels. Experiment was a huge success! The nectarines were perfect and ripened in two days. Same with the avocados. This will ALWAYS be my go to.

    • Ah Christin, thanks for the yes vote! I was worried I may have lost you to skepticism and hard-rock peaches. Thanks for sharing your comment and success story! Avocados and peaches? Sounds like the perfect fruit basket to me. Well wishes, Tom

  156. Tom, I just want to say that you’re a pretty awesome dude! Literally, still answering questions after all these years. A lot of people would stop replying or be annoyed that maybe you’ve answered the same question twice, three times. But not you! If only social media took advice from you, the world would be a better place! Thank you for proving that there are still wonderful decent people like you around!
    P.S. I bought a house with a peach tree in the backyard, that’s what originally brought me to your site! Thank you for all of your wonderful advice.

    • Carolyn, you made my morning. Thank you! It’s my pleasure and I’m glad to help. Hope that peach tree loves you back with some bushels and a peck! Cheers, Tom

  157. Just found your post. My peach tree, bearing like crazy for the first time, was so laden with unripe but almost there peaches that a major limb split off from the weight. Heartbreaking. After (properly) removing the limb, shoring up the other branches as best as possible, I collected the unripe peaches that had fallen as well as those from the severed branch. I now have a grocery bag FULL of peaches. For this many I think I will need to spread a linen TABLECLOTH on a table, cover with another tablecloth, and hope for the best. Do you think your method will work with these immature peaches? thank you!

  158. Tried to post this before, don’t know if it actually worked.
    Lost a limb on my peach tree today; was overburdened with weight of unripe peaches. After propping up other branches and removing the limb I collected a full grocery bag of unripe peaches. Will try to lay them on a linen tablecloth, on a table, with another tablecloth on top. will this work for peaches that were probably a month away from being ready? will it work with this many? thank you!

    • Diane I feel your pain, I just a had a loaded branch do the same. I don’t know how many times I walked by and thought, I need to support that branch. I think your tablecloth idea is a good one and what do you have to lose? Just keep a close eye on them and pitch any bruised or rotting fruit that appears. It may just work, if the peaches aren’t to green. As the peaches ripen and get heavier, then the break occurs in the branch. So maybe they are far enough along to continue their journey to sweetness. Give it a try and let me know what happens. I hope there are juicy peaches in your future.

      • Tom, thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly.
        After I salvaged those peaches and propped up the remaining branches as best as possible, I got online and looked at some videos on peach tree pruning and thinning. I’ve never pruned it for easy harvest, and only thinned a few peaches from the clusters. According to the videos I should have pruned off many more tiny peaches, so that there was only one peach every 8 inches or so. I think if I had done this the limb wouldn’t have snapped. So this year early spring I’m going to prune/shape the branches, and later really take those peaches off. In the meantime, I have about 60 immature peaches spread and covered with linen. We’ll see what happens and thanks again for your advice!

  159. The peach tree that I planted seven years ago has been only giving a couple of peaches here and there…..until this year! Based on your advice I beat the birds and raccoons to the harvest by picking my peaches early. I placed my 85 under-ripe peaches on cotton tea towels and let them nap for three days. Today they are fragrant, juicy and delicious. Pie crusts are in the fridge and tomorrow morning the perfect peaches will fulfill their peach pie destiny. Thanks from Ontario Canada!

    • Alright Karen! That is awesome and I love that it worked for you and to the purpose of peach pies, well, what could be better. Thanks for sharing your kind words and welcomed comment. Well wishes, my friend to the north!

  160. Here’s my question:
    Can an overabundance of rain affect the ability of a peach to ripen uniformly? For example, with this year’s Georgia crop of peaches I have noticed that the peaches become ripe in the area nearest the outside perimeter and less rip in the area closer to the pit. I have to let the outside area over-ripen to assure the center will be ripe and not hard. Any thoughts on this?

    • Hi Adam, you know I’m at a loss on this one because we have super dry summers in the maritime northwest and when we do get rain this time of year, it tends to crack the skins of the peaches and nectarines. In the winter when we receive excessive rain, it sets up the peach tree to likely get peach leaf curl in the spring. That’s our big problem. I wonder if the abundance of summer rain is causing brown rot which will soften the peaches until completely rotten. Maybe the ripe outer peach is just in the beginning stages of brown rot attacking the peach. Just a guess.

  161. Hi Tom! I have been reading reviews and it seems to me you know your peaches! We have a peach tree and one our branches broke we have about 30 peaches that aren’t ripe (green and some with the peachy rose starting) and probably another 20-30 still on tree. My husband has put a ladder under limb to support, hopefully it works.
    I am going to give your method a try! We are battling triple digit weather so my question is, Would I put my peaches on table in a low light room, temperature in house is about 72-73* or does it need to be warmer than that? Also, do you think a 7-10 days to ripen or will I be wasting my time and getting fruit flies? Please help. Thank you.

    • Hi Tracey,
      I would definitely place the peaches inside in your 72-73 degree range. Depending on the current state of the peaches, and nearness to ripening, the peaches may just ripen for you. Fruit flies appear when there is overripeness or rot, so if you see fruit flies, one of the fruits is starting to rot likely, so check your fruit and toss/compost rotten or spoiling fruit. I’d say 7-10 days is probably close to ripening time. They may be too green for this to work, but why not try it. Good Luck!
      Here’s a guide to thinning fruit for next season, which may help with avoiding broken branches: http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/8047.pdf

  162. Hello, I’m asking for my next door neighbor. They have a Peach tree, no clue which species it is. We are in Socal, zone 9a/9b, semi desert environment, Perris, CA.
    Now it is near the end of September and finding a lot of peaches, unripen, on the ground, in our yards. I could not see the peaches when they were on the branches, lots of leaves. What could be the problem, that the peaches did not ripen during the summer months? I’m going to guess, lack of water? (We have very little rain here)

    • Hi Dorothy, Some peaches fall off the tree readily when close to being ripe. I would tell her to pick a few from the tree, and leave them unrefrigerated on the counter, not touching, and see if they ripen. I would suspect this late in the season, they likely will. Peaches also drop fruit when stressed, so a lack of water may well play a part in the early fruit drop. Hope this helps. Cheers, Tom


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