There are few things as delicious as a perfectly ripe peach that you've picked yourself. Go to the orchard and look for fruit that smells sweet and looks ripe. Once you've found juicy peaches, gently pick them. To pick peaches from a grocery store or farm stand, ask to sample the fruit before choosing. If you accidentally bring home peaches that aren't soft enough, place them in a paper bag at home until they're ripe. Then use the peaches in your favorite recipes or enjoy eating them out of hand!

EditPicking Peaches at the Orchard

  1. Choose shallow containers to hold the fruit. If you use a deep bucket to hold the peaches, the weight of the fruit will bruise or crush the fruit at the bottom. Instead of a bucket, take a shallow container with sides that are about high.[1]

    • Some orchards will provide their own containers. If they only have deep buckets, take several into the orchard, but only fill them halfway to prevent bruising the fruit.

  2. Look for peaches on the edges of the branches. These peaches are exposed to more sunlight, so they're usually riper than peaches that grow near the center of the tree. Peaches on the periphery also grow larger and are sweeter because they have a higher sugar content.[2]

    • If you're picking organic peaches, there may be tiny dents or spots on the peaches. These are harmless bug bites that won't affect the flavor of the peaches.

  3. Find peaches that are yellow, red, or orange. Depending on the type of peach you're picking, they'll turn a shade of yellow, orange, or red once they're ripe. Peaches that are still green aren't ready to pick.[3]

    • Some white flesh peaches will have a pale white and yellow skin, but you still shouldn't see any areas of green.

  4. Smell the peaches to tell if they're fragrant. If you sniff a few peaches and can't smell anything, they're probably not ripe enough. Peaches should smell sweet and floral if they're ripe for picking.[4]

    • The stronger the peach smell, the riper the fruit is.

  5. Squeeze the peach a little. The peach shouldn't feel firm or hard. When you squeeze it gently, the peach flesh should give a little so you know it's slightly soft. Avoid squeezing too hard or you'll bruise the fruit.[5]
  6. Pull the peaches off of the branches. Once you've found a ripe peach you want to take home, hold it firmly in your hand and gently pull it away from the branch or twig that it's on. Ensure that you don't pull so hard that you injure the tree or cause nearby peaches to fall.[6]

    • If you're having trouble pulling the peach off of a branch, it's probably not ripe enough yet.

EditSelecting Peaches at a Store or Farm Stand

  1. Ask to taste the peaches. Many farmers will offer to let you taste the peaches they're selling. If you're buying peaches at a grocery store, they may have samples set out or you can ask someone in the produce department to cut one for you.[7]

    • Tasting the peaches is one of the best ways to decide which peaches to buy. If you taste a peach and aren't impressed with the flavor, they're probably not ripe.

  2. Decide which type of peach you want to buy. Although there are many varieties of peaches, you'll need to choose whether you want freestone or clingstone peaches. If you purchase freestone peaches, you'll be able to pull the flesh away from the pit, but you won't be able to if you buy clingstone peaches.[8]
  3. Purchase local peaches from the grocery store. If there aren't farm stands in your area, check the grocery store for peaches. Ask someone in the produce department where the peaches came from and try to choose fruit that came from somewhere nearby. This usually means the fruit will be riper.[9]

    • For example, if your grocery sells peaches that came from 50 miles away and 500 miles away, the ones that didn't travel as far were probably picked closer to ripeness.

  4. Look for unblemished fruit that smells fragrant. Whether you're buying peaches at the farm stand or grocery store, choose peaches that don't have dark spots or bruises. They should smell floral and sweet. When you pick them up, they should feel a little soft, not hard like rocks.[10]

    • If you're buying from a farm stand, the farmer has probably selected some of the best fruit to sell so you're more likely to get perfectly ripe peaches than what's displayed at the grocery store.

EditRipening Peaches at Home

  1. Remove the peaches from the container you brought them home in. Peaches shouldn't remain stacked in a bucket or container and you shouldn't leave them in plastic. A plastic bag will trap moisture and cause the peaches the spoil faster.[11]
  2. Place the peaches in a single layer into a paper bag. Loosely close the top of the bag and set the peaches on the counter at room temperature. The peaches will release ethylene gas which will cause the fruit to ripen. Open the bag and check the peaches after 24 hours to see if they're soft and ripe.[12]

    • Avoid putting the peaches in the refrigerator or in a hot room. These extreme temperatures won't help the peaches ripen.

  3. Use the peaches as soon as they're soft. Since peaches will quickly begin to turn mushy once they're soft, it's important to use them as they ripen. Slice and eat the ripe peaches, bake with them, make peach jam, or freeze sliced peaches for later.

    • If you'd like to enjoy the taste of ripe peaches year round, slice and can the fruit.


  • If you're picking peaches at the orchard, bring hats, bottles of water, and wear sunscreen.
  • Most grocery stores and farm stands don't want you squeezing or handling the fruit too much, so ask if you'd like to feel the peaches.


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