Knowing how to store peaches is the best way to take advantage of peach season. There are three ways to keep your peaches fresh and ready to eat at any time. The best option for you may depend on how and when you plan to use them.
How to store peaches that aren’t ripe yet
If you buy peaches from the store or farmer's market, but they aren't quite ripe yet, keep them on the counter at room temperature for a few days until they reach your preferred level of ripeness.
Keep the unripe peaches stored unwashed with the stem side down in a single layer right on the kitchen counter. There's no need to put them in a plastic bag or another container if you're fine with the natural ripening process taking a few days.
Sometimes peaches get wet at the store and are wet when you bring them home. Be sure to allow them to dry completely. This may mean you'll need to take them out of the bag you brought them home in. If they're allowed to sit in the water without drying off first, they'll grow mold before you're able to eat them.
Storing ripe peaches
Ripe peaches are ready to eat or use in a peach cobbler pound cake right away. You can keep them on the counter for a couple of days if you plan on eating them quickly.
If you need a few days to eat them all before they go bad, you can keep them in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat them. Or try using a few slices in a glass of refreshing Starbucks peach green tea lemonade.
You can also store them whole in the crisper drawer or in slices in the fridge. Cut peaches with a paring knife and put the slices in an airtight container in the fridge.
Keep in mind that the longer you keep fresh peaches in the fridge, the more they will dry out. Eventually, they'll get wrinkly, and the texture won't be pleasant to eat.
You can always repurpose overripe peaches and use them to make sweet peach jam.
How to freeze peaches
If you buy a bushel of peaches or have a peach tree in your backyard, you can always freeze them for a later date. The process is very similar to how you store strawberries in the freezer.
Slice the peaches into segments, lay them on a baking sheet, squeeze lemon juice over the top, and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove the frozen peaches and put them in a large freezer bag back in the freezer until you're ready to use them.
The lemon juice acts as a natural preservative and helps them stay fresh even longer.
Freezing them this way ensures you can use exactly as many peaches as you need because they don't freeze into one solid mass.
How to tell if a peach is ripe
Once you've brought home some fresh peaches, there's nothing worse than biting into what you might assume is an apple.
Peaches have a wonderful fresh smell when they're ripe that you should be able to smell even from a few feet away. You can always tell when it's peach season when you walk into the produce department at the grocery store, and you're hit with that amazing peach smell.
A perfectly ripe peach will also be slightly soft under your fingertips. Don't squeeze too hard, though, or you'll bruise them and leave dark spots in the flesh.
How to ripen peaches faster
If you're in a hurry and need to ripen whole peaches more quickly, there is a method that works every time.
Place the peaches in a brown paper bag and fold over the top. The peaches will release ethylene gas which encourages ripening.
You can even stick a banana or apple in the bag to make the process faster. These fruits produce a lot of ripening gas and can help ripen the peaches. Keep in mind that the banana may also release odors and make your peaches taste like bananas.
This process can take up to three days, depending on how much ripening they need to do when you buy them from the store.
Remember to check on them once or twice a day to make sure they don’t get too ripe.
I like to use very ripe peaches in my peach compote, which reduces the cooking time on the stove. I'll sometimes use over-ripe peaches in this recipe.
FAQs: How to store peaches
Should peaches be refrigerated?
You can freeze peaches if you want to prolong their shelf life.
How should I store peaches to avoid fruit flies?
Fruit flies are attracted to very fresh fruit. Besides eating or using them quickly, the best storage method for them at this stage is in the fridge.
How long do peaches last on the counter?
Store this sweet summer fruit on the counter until they're ripe. Once they're ripe, you can leave them on the counter for up to three additional days.