How can I tell if a peach is ripe?
GENTLY lay your palm around the fruit to feel whether it is firm or soft. DO NOT squeeze with your fingers and thumbs.
How can you get a perfectly ripe peach with no bruises?
- Grow your own peach orchard. Pick a peach when it is perfectly ripe and ready to fall off the tree. Eat it in the orchard.
- Buy peaches that are FIRM and unbruised. Plan to spend some time allowing them to ripen. For small quantities, put a single layer in a paper bag and close the top for quickest ripening. Leave at room temperature and check daily for ripeness. For bigger quantities, some people allow peaches to ripen at room temperature in half-bushel baskets, sorting through them DAILY to remove riper peaches. Others set a single layer of peaches on a counter or table (NOT in direct sunlight). For best results, some people wrap each peach in newspaper! As peaches ripen, they get soft--first on the outside and then near the pit. IF PEACHES ARE CRUNCHY/FIRM NEXT TO THE PIT, THEY NEED TO RIPEN A LITTLE LONGER OR THEY WILL STICK TO THE PIT. If peaches are stacked on top of each other, they will bruise from the weight of other peaches as they ripen.
- If #2 seems like a lot of work, just look back at #1 and consider planting and caring for the trees for years before harvesting the first peach!
How can you get a peach to come off the pit easily?
- BUY A FREESTONE PEACH. Red Haven is not a true freestone and may cling. In some years, peaches cling more because of growing conditions.
- ALLOW THE PEACH TO RIPEN FULLY. (See #2 above) Select a ripe peach. Rinse it. Cut it to the pit along the "seam" all the way around. Hold each half GENTLY in your palms and twist halves in opposite directions. Some people use a pitting spoon, inserted at the stem end and pushed all the way through, to pop the halves apart. Others use a knife in the same manner. For clings, think of the stem end as the North Pole. Cut around the "seam" (North to South Pole) and then around the equator. Pop quarter-peaches off pit.
- When all else fails, scald and peel peach, then cut slices to the pit and cut them off. This works well for not-quite-ripe peaches, if you just can't wait for them to ripen.