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The most popular post on my blog (based on number of comments and views) is The Best Way to Ripen Peaches. I wrote it because I felt few folks understood how wonderfully peaches ripen off the tree and on their own if treated with a modicum of respect and patience. I think of ripening an avocado and peach very much in the same way: buy them firm and let them do their thing in their own time.
Best Way to Ripen Peaches: The Backstory
So how did I come up with my linen towel technique? Years ago I bought a case of peaches to can and make jam with. The box, chockablock with three layers of peaches, was too big for my dinky refrigerator. I decided to remove the peaches from the box, space them out to ripen on my kitchen window seat, which I lined with linen napkins. To thwart fruit flies, I covered the peaches with a single layer of linen napkins. Each day I’d check for bruised or damaged fruit and dispatch the injured into the blender for a quick trip to smoothie town. By week’s end, I noticed the peaches were sweet and juicy and very flavorful, ripening slowly and deliciously without interference from me. The peaches rested out of direct sun on my shaded window seat seven to ten days, never spoiling, at least the ones not rough-handled during picking, packing or shipping.
Forget the jam; I ended up eating the entire case of peaches, reasoning nothing so sweet and juicy should be dropped into a hot water bath. Maybe lesser fruit, but not these room-ripened gems. I’ve been ripening peaches this way ever since.
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