It's Peach Season! Here's How to Tell if the Stone Fruit Is Ripe

Biting into a ripe peach on a hot summer day is one of our favorite pastimes. The way your fingers get sticky and the juice drips down your chin... it's enough to make you forget all about the sweltering heat! Even the thought of making sweet peach recipes will get anyone excited for the start of stone fruit season whether it's a classic peach pie, golden grilled peaches, or a bubbling peach crumble. So, how do you know which peaches are ripe for the picking?

Depending on the type of peach and where you live in the United States, peach season starts as early as May and ends in September. Though, generally speaking, you'll find the ripest peaches in the middle of summer. That doesn't mean you won't be faced with rock hard peaches at the supermarket in July. Many stores will carry underripe peaches that can sit on the shelf for a longer period of time. Yep, just like with ripening avocados or ripening watermelon, peaches are one of those fruits that can ripen over time. However, if you head to your local farm stand and find peaches that are ripe and ready to eat, go ahead and buy them—there's nothing else like it! 😋

how to pick ripe peach
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How to pick a good peach?

Ready to bite into those juicy summer peaches? Next time you head to the supermarket or farm stand, don't forget to follow these steps for finding a ripe peach:

Use Your Eyes

One of the best ways to tell if a peach is good is by looking at the skin. The color should be vibrant with shades of yellow, red, and pink. Near the stem, the color should be golden to indicate ripeness. If it’s light yellow or even green, the peach is more likely to be unripe. It’s also best to avoid peaches with skin that’s wrinkled, bruised, or shriveled.

Give it a Gentle Squeeze

Giving the peach a light squeeze will help determine if it’s ripe. Peaches that are ready to eat will have a little bit of give when pressed. If it’s firm, the peach will be underripe. But remember, peaches will ripen over time so you can buy a range of peaches with different firmness to enjoy over a few days. The softer the peach, the more quickly you should eat it!

Take a Sniff

There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh peaches! If a peach is ripe, it should have a sweet and fragrant scent. Those without any smell are likely underripe.

Don't Forget to Taste

Once you've picked out the perfect peach, give it a taste. Depending on the variety, different peaches will have slightly different flavors. Yellow peaches have a distinct sweet-tartness, while white peaches are delicate and floral.

How to store peaches?

The best way to store peaches will depend on their ripeness. If they're not quite ripe, you can keep them on the counter at room temperature or place in a paper bag to encourage the ripening process. Just don't refrigerate them if their underripe or you'll wind up with dry, wrinkly peaches. Once ripe, peaches should be eaten right away or stored in the fridge for a couple of days. You can also freeze peaches by cutting them up and flash-freezing them for a later use.

What causes peaches to turn mealy?

An underripe peach isn't ideal but a mealy peach is even worse! This happens when a peach is refrigerated before its ripe then brought back to room temperature. The result is a mealy texture that's unpleasant to eat.

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