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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 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) 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 Step 3: No Direct Sunlight • Make sure the fruit doesn’t touch and is kept in a cool place out of the sun. 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. 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. 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 my favorite things about summer! 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. 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.
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! 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?
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). Nystedt Immortal Bach Pdf. Just follow the instructions above and you may have too many peaches to eat.
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. 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. Don, crispy nectarines, eh? For novelty’s sake, I may give it a try. Now on to your questions. 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! Tomcould 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 Tomthanks 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.
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 peacheshave you had successful experience with refrigerating and then ripening peaches? 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.) 🙂. 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. Barter peaches; I give you peaches, you give me peach pie, or some canned peaches or lamb kebabs. 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. 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 ripewell, 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 saucedo 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! 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 temperature. 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.
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.
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;)!!! 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! 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! 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 seasona 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 foragebtwhave visited Vashon Islandit’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 GrantMarin County, CA.
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. Hello Tom, I had been going to ask about nectarines, but I see that someone has already asked that question. Leona Lewis Footprints In The Sand Karaoke Free Download.
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. 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.
This is the third summer for our “Independence Day” nectarine, and wow!!! It has fruit! Here it is two days after July 4, the orbs are getting almost ripe, and the yard squirrels are having the very same enthusiastic reaction as we are.
Hence I just now searched “how to ripen nectarines off the tree” and am delighted to find your article. Have used the same method to ripen green tomatoes but wasn’t sure about these nectarines. Sorry, squirrelitos, after tomorrow morning you’ll have sampled your last of the fruits. Tom, 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 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. Happily planning peach pies!! 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 😉. 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! 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. 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 🙂. 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! 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? 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. Peach lover who has never eaten a ripe, fresh peach! I love peaches, but I’ve only ever eaten them out of a jar. When we first got them in this year at my store, they were $3.99 a pound so I kept with my jarred peaches. But now they’re a lot cheaper, so I bought a bunch. I’ve bitten into two so far and they tasted horrible!
The first was before I googled about ripeness and the second was days later, hoping it was ripe. Now, like 4 days later, they’re still hard rocks. I’ve got them in a towel now though, hoping your method will work!
I really want a ripe peach! The nectarines I bought ripened very fast.
These peaches are stubborn. Tom, 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. 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. 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.
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:):):) Sincerely, Heather. 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 🙂. 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. 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 agothey 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, butheck, I could handle a little poison fumes and just had to try one peach. 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. 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. 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 itif 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! 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. 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 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.
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.
So good that I then made a batch of peach and blueberry jam with the rest. A fine combination! 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. 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. 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.
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! 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.
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. 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? 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!