Peaches belong to the genus Prunus which includes almonds, cherries, apricots, and plums in the rose family. Since peaches have a short shelf life, you should consume as soon as they are ripe. But, how to tell if a peach is ripe?
Peaches are most flavorful when they ripen on the tree. They are typically consumed or canned within two weeks of harvest. Harvested peaches are shipped when green and unripe.
There are ways on how to check if a peach a peach if ripe to eat, as well as how to tell if a peach is bad.
How to Tell If a Peach Is Ripe
Ripe peaches taste delectable and have a sweet aroma. There are some ways to make out a ripened peach.
Here are some simple ways by which you can tell if a peach is ripe even before cutting it.
A ripe peach feels soft and yields to light pressure. But, how do you distinguish between a ripe and an overripe peach? And, is there a way on how to tell if a peach is overripe and not just ripe?
An overripe peach feels extremely soft to touch. If the peach feels too hard, then it is unripe. If the peach has bruises due to improper handling or if it is too hard to the touch, then it is bad.
Another way by which you can tell if a peach is ripe is by smelling it. A ripe peach should emit a sweet aroma.
If the peach doesn’t smell sweet, it may also not taste good. Unripe peaches are neither sweet nor juicy.
You can tell if a peach is ripe just by looking at it. Simply observe the shape of the fruit. Peaches become round as they start to ripen.
The background color of the peach indicates its ripeness. A ripe peach is a dark yellow in color. A red peach indicates overexposure to sunlight and does not mean that it is ripe.
If the peach is green or you find green undertones on a yellow peach, it is unripe and needs more time to ripen before harvesting. Simply leave it at room temperature in your kitchen.
You can also tell if a peach is ripe by looking at the skin’s texture. It will have shriveled skin around the stem.
When the water starts leaving the fruit, the skin starts to wrinkle. This process intensifies the flavor of the fruit.
How to Ripen Peaches If They Are Unripe
Now that you know how to tell if a peach is ripe, you can choose fruit that isn’t completely ripe so that you can eat them later. Peaches continue to ripen after they are harvested. However, peaches that are harvested too early and are too green will not ripen.
There are a couple of ways ripen peaches quickly. But before doing that, it is necessary to pick the right peaches. Pick peaches that are firm, feel heavy for their size, and have a good color.
1. Leave them on the counter
Leave the unripe peaches on the counter. Be sure not to stack them or keep them stem-side down. Place them where they can get some sunlight, but it shouldn’t be direct.
2. Pack them in a paper bag
Put the peaches in a paper bag along with a banana and close it. The fruits will emit ethylene gas which speeds up the ripening process.
3. Cover them
When you leave the peaches on the counter, you can cover them with a napkin, cotton cloth, or pillowcase. It provides shade to the peaches and quickens the ripening process.
You can then check if the peach is ripe with the methods previously mentioned above. Once the peach ripens, eat it immediately or refrigerate it for not more than three to four days.
How to Use Unripe Peaches
Unripe peaches aren’t bitter but taste sour. You can pickle unripe peaches and enjoy them throughout the year, or you can also cook them. So, when you come across an unripe peach, don’t throw it away.
Here are two simple recipes using unripe peaches.
1. Pickled Unripe Peaches Recipe
- 500 g of unripe peaches
- ½ cup of grape vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of hot water
Prick the peaches with a fork or needle so that they can absorb the brine. Put them in a jar. Roughly chop the garlic cloves and add them to the jar.
Make a mixture of sugar, salt, and vinegar and pour it into the jar. Pour hot water over the peaches until it fills the jar. Cover the jar with a lid and turn it upside down.
When the water cools down, return the jar to its normal position. Leave the jar in a dry and dark place for 15 days before consuming.
2. Poached Peaches Recipe
- Any liquid like wine, water, syrup, or beer.
- Cinnamon sticks, ginger, or cloves to infuse the liquid
- Unripe peaches
Add the spices to the liquid to infuse the flavors. Cut the peaches in half and discard the stone. You can peel the skin if desired.
Bring the liquid to a boil in a saucepan. The liquid should be enough to cover all the peaches. Add some more spices if required.
Reduce the heat and add the fruit. Cook for 10 to 45 minutes depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Poach until the fruit gets soft.
You can eat the fruit directly after it cools or leave it in the refrigerator overnight to absorb the liquid.
Now that you have learned how to tell if a peach is ripe and some easy ways to store unripe peaches, you can enjoy these juicy fruits this season. Also, be sure try out the recipes we provided so you can savor them all year long.
“HOW TO TELL WHEN A PEACH IS RIPE FOR EATING,” Parlee Farms; http://parleefarms.com/peach-ripe-eating/.
“3 Signs of a Sweet and Juicy, Ready to Eat Peach,” Frog Hollow Farms, May 21, 2014; https://www.froghollow.com/blogs/news/14211125-3-signs-of-a-sweet-and-juicy-ready-to-eat-peach.
“pickled unripe peaches,” Give Recipe; https://www.giverecipe.com/pickled-unripe-peaches/.
Christensen, E., “Quick Tip: What To Do with Unripe Fruit,” Kitchn, July 28, 2008; http://www.thekitchn.com/quick-tip-what-to-do-with-unri-57602.