Peaches are popping up at the farmer’s market and nothing says ‘summer’ like stone fruit. To select the best fruit, there are a few things you need to know. Peaches are tree-ripened which means that as soon as they are picked, they stop producing sugar. If you’re purchasing your peaches at the grocery store, they will usually have come from a commercial farm that has picked the peach before fully ripening to prevent bruising for long-distance shipment. True, they will further ripen on your countertop, but will simply not be as sweet as a locally-grown, fresh-off-the-branch peach. If you can, support your area farmers and enjoy local stone fruit that’s soft and sweet.
Whether selecting peaches at the farm stand, farmer’s market or grocery store, pick fruit that has a slight give in the flesh and smell it. If it smells like a sweet peach, you can trust that it is! Store your ripe peaches in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve them for as long as possible until you can enjoy them. For any unripe peaches in the batch, place them in a brown paper bag on the counter. As the fruit ripens, the bag traps ethylene gas, causing rapid ripening, and the paper allows moisture to still escape to prevent mildew. Peaches are best enjoyed at room temperature.