5 Easy Hacks To Ripen Freshly Picked Peaches Quickly

Peak peach season happens from May to September, although you can easily find peaches year-round thanks to the different regions they are grown throughout the U.S., like in California, South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey.

While there's nothing better than biting into a juicy peach in the summertime, you may only have unripe ones laying around. When that happens, fear not—it's possible to ripen peaches at home quickly. Here's everything you need to know about how to ripen peaches, plus the signs to look for when choosing the best ones.

Related: Here’s Exactly How To Ripen Bananas—Fast!

How To Tell if Peaches Are Ripe

When checking to see if a peach is ripe, there are a few key indicators to look for. "Check it for color," says Marcus. "If the peach has red blush with a tinge of yellow, it’s ready to eat." You can also press your thumb gently into the flesh to test. "If it yields slightly, that’s a sign that it is ripe," Marcus explains. Finally, ripe peaches will have a distinct aroma. "If it smells sweet and fragrant, then your peach is ready to eat."



How To Ripen Peaches Quickly

If you want to ripen peaches quickly, it's important to understand the science behind how it all works. "Peaches ripen naturally by producing a compound called ethylene, which triggers the process of fruit softening," explains Melanie Marcus, registered dietitian and founder of the site Miss Nutritious Eats. "As the fruit matures, ethylene increases, which signals the cells to break down pectin, a component of the cell wall that holds fruit together." This process is what gives ripe peaches their juicy, soft texture.

If you're wondering why all these peaches at the supermarket aren't ripe, Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN and author of Air Fryer Cookbook For Dummies, says it has to do with when they're picked. "Peaches ripen after picked since their flesh is so tender it would be difficult to transfer them to the point of sale without puncturing the skin," she explains.

How Do You Ripen Store-Bought Peaches at Home?

Want ripe peaches now? Here's what you need to do to ripen peaches faster.

1. Pick a good peach

For best results, choose peaches with the least visible amount of green. Make sure they are unbruised and not punctured for best results.

2. Place peaches in a brown paper bag

Place peaches on their shoulders. If you have a spare apple or banana, place it in the bag with the peach to speed things up. "This works because placing peaches in a paper bag with a banana or an apple will trap the ethylene gas that the fruits naturally release, which triggers the ripening process," explains Marcus. Pro tip: When arranging the fruit, keep enough space between each of them.



3. Close the bag

Loosely roll the brown paper bag up to seal in the ethylene gas.



4. Store the bag at room temperature

For best results, keep the bag away from direct sunlight.

5. Check the peaches each day

Depending on how close your peaches are to turning ripe, this process can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days to fully ripen.

Related: How To Pick a Watermelon That’s Perfectly Ripe, Crisp and Sweet Every Time

Will Peaches Continue To Ripen on the Counter?

"Placing an unripened peach on the counter stimulates the ripening process by exposing it to warm temperatures and allowing the fruit to release ethylene gas which triggers fruit ripening," says Marcus. However, if you want to speed up the process, the paper bag method is your best bet. "If left on a counter, peaches can take anywhere from five to seven days to ripen fully," she says.

Can You Ripen Peaches in the Refrigerator?

If you're tempted to throw those hard, unripened peaches into the refrigerator and hope for the best, you may want to think twice. "Ideally, you want to let peaches ripen at room temperature," says Marcus. "Refrigeration will halt the process. However, once your peaches are ripe, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the fridge."

How Long Does It Take for Hard Peaches To Ripen?

Using the paper bag method, very unripe peaches ripen in around five days. However, it's important not to use this method with completely green peaches for the best results. "Because color change is the first step of the ripening process, green peaches will reach full size once picked from the tree," Marcus explains. "They may change in color and texture once exposed to ethylene gas, but they will still have a 'green' taste."

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