How to Tell if a Peach is Ripe

There's nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a fresh, in-season peach. These mouthwatering stone fruits are one of the great joys of summer, especially when used to make peach cobblers, peach tarts, and peach crumbles. However, it's always slightly disappointing to buy peaches from the market only to realize they're hard, bitter, and not ripe yet. A perfectly ripe peach is sweet and juicy, a natural summery treat.

By Cookist
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There are a few easy ways to tell when a peach is ripe. Read on for these four simple tips!

Smell

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The first indicator that your peach is ripe is the smell. A ripe peach will have a heavenly sweet, almost flowery aroma. If the peach isn't giving off any aroma, that means it's still unripe.

Touch

Ripe peaches are somewhat soft to touch. When you squeeze them, the flesh will give ever so slightly. If the peach is hard and feels like a baseball, then it hasn't ripened yet and will need a few more days.

Color 

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A ripe peach will have beautiful deep yellow skin with a red blush. Overripe peaches will be quite dark, potentially with some brown spots. If the peach is underripe, the color will be pale yellow and it may even have a green tinge to it, especially around the stem.

Texture of Skin

Sometimes a ripe peach can have slight wrinkling in the skin around the stems. If you see this, your peach is ready to eat! The wrinkling is caused by evaporation. A ripe peach should also feel fuzzy to touch.

How to Ripen Peaches Faster

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If you want to get your peaches to ripen more quickly, place them in a paper bag with an apple or a ripe banana. Apples and bananas release ethylene gas which causes fruits to ripen faster. If you put your peaches in a bag with these fruits, you can expect them to be ready to eat in 1 to 3 days.

Can You Freeze Peaches?

Absolutely! If you want to keep your peaches fresh for long-term storage, peel the peaches, remove the pit, cut them into slices, then toss them with lemon juice. The lemon juice will prevent the peaches from oxidizing and losing flavor and color. Transfer the peaches to a freezer-safe bag. Frozen peaches will stay fresh for up to three months. Don't forget to label the bag you put the peaches in so you know how long they'll stay fresh!

How to Pick and Store the Perfect Peach

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If you're lucky enough to go peach picking, follow the same guidelines listed above to determine if the peaches are ripe. Make sure they have a sweet, floral aroma, are a deep golden yellow and free from green, have a slightly fuzzy skin texture, and give slightly when you squeeze them. Ripe peaches can be eaten immediately. To keep your peaches fresh, store them at room temperature. If you want to slow down their ripening process, simply pop them in the fridge for up to one week. Don't leave your peaches refrigerated any longer than one week because they'll spoil.

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