Wondering how to ripen peaches this peach season? You might get discouraged at your local grocery store when all you find are hard ones. But, don’t fret because the perfect peach DOES exist and it only takes FOUR simple steps with this easy method. Once you’ve got the ripening process down, you’ll have all the juicy peaches you need for summer snacks, salads, and desserts.
How to Ripen Peaches
While there can be many methods to ripen a peach, one stands out to me as the best way: enough time on your kitchen counter at room temperature. Follow these 4 simple steps to get the perfect, juicy peaches!
Selecting a peach that is firm with a vibrant color will make or break ripening your peach. You’ll want to make sure your peaches don’t have any bruises or uneven soft spots.
2. Rest Time
You can store your peaches to ripen in 2 different ways:
- In a single layer stem side down on a breathable cloth like a paper towel or linen napkins, then cover with another towel.
- Placing your peaches face down in an enclosed brown paper bag or zipped up plastic bag. With this method, you take advantage of ethylene, a natural gas that fruit releases that promotes the ripening process (bananas do this too!).
Keep your soon-to-be perfectly ripe peaches separated at room temperature out of direct sunlight on your kitchen counter or in your pantry. You don’t want them too close, otherwise you risk them unevenly ripening in the areas where they touch.
3. Smell and Appearance
The ripest peaches will be done when you can smell fresh peaches throughout your kitchen. Your peaches will also be slightly pressed down because the peach has been softening, becoming more dense.
This process can take up to anywhere from 24 hours to a couple days.
4. Eat or Refrigerate
You can either eat your fully ripe peach right away or place it in your fridge to stop the ripening process.
How to Choose a Peach
The ripest, sweetest peaches in your produce section will be:
- Vibrant and colorful
- Soft (but not too soft!). The most important thing is that they have an even level of firmness throughout the fruit; spots that are softer than others indicate a potential bruise.
Green peaches are unripe and will not give you that signature sweet peachy taste. That’s it!
How do I know when a peach is ripe?
To know when a peach is perfectly ripe, pick it up and gently squeeze it near the stem area on top. If it’s soft, then your peach is ready to use. It will also have that lovely peachy aroma. A hard peach will be crunchy, difficult to bite into, and tart in flavor.
If your peach isn’t ready, the good news is you can store it with the methods described above, and it’ll be ripe in just a few days!
What if my peach is overripe?
Overripe peaches are not a reason to throw them out! There are great ways you can take advantage of summer produce that can last all year long. Additionally, an overripe peach really just means that it’s really soft, and will be easy to incorporate into desserts, jams, or any summer treat.
How can I use an overripe peach?
- Add a mushy peach to a saucepan with sugar to cook it down to a jam-like texture.
- Blend up your peach, use our Simple Syrup Recipe, and add it to some water.
Peach Pie / Peach Cobbler
- Combine peeled, overripe peaches with sugar, corn starch, lemon juice, and few seasonings with a cobbler topping before placing in the oven for the best gluten-free peach cobbler.
- Create an easy Instant Pot Pork Chop with Peach Salsa by adding the peaches, basil, red onion, lime juice, and olive oil for a perfect sweet and savory dish.
- Pair your peaches with another fruit in these Healthy Baked Oatmeal fruit bars.
- Add sliced peaches to a charcuterie board with cherries, a variety of cheeses, deli meats, and nuts.
- Make it a Peach Banana Smoothie by adding your peaches, bananas, and some fruit juice. Even better—learn How to Freeze Peaches before making this smoothie for a thicker consistency.
- Grill your peaches and pair them with soft mozzarella cheese and grilled chicken.
- Mash your peaches and add arugula and feta cheese, or Greek yogurt and honey.
Peach Ice Cream
- Make this simple, Peach Sorbet OR creamy, peach ice cream with sweet and condensed milk and your puréed peaches or peach chunks.
Peaches contain antioxidants like vitamin C, polyphenols, and carotenoids that fight cell damage, aging, and illnesses.
If a peach is extremely bruised, soft, mushy, or moldy do not eat it.
You can eat everything on a peach except the pit.
To care for a peach tree, it needs to be watered often in the summer, its branches need to be thinned, and you’ll want to spray it with pest controls to prevent leaf curl.
Peaches are low-sodium which means they are very kidney-friendly.
Yes, eating peaches daily is a great way to incorporate fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Only ripe peaches should be refrigerated.
Peaches can serve as a reliable stress reliever because they contain magnesium, which promotes a healthy nervous system and improves sleep quality.
Eating too many peaches can cause indigestion and diarrhea.
The Best Peach Recipes
With peach season in full swing, you have to take advantage of some of these recipes and methods for making the most of this healthy, delicious fruit: