When to Buy/In Season:
May – October. Free stone peaches are available later in the season, August – October, while cling stone peaches are available earlier in the spring and summer.

How to Select:
Fairly firm to slightly soft, yellow or cream-colored fruit with, depending on variety, a red blush. Avoid green, shriveled or bruised fruit. Pulp of free-stone varieties is easily removed from the seed.

Organic Issues:
Peaches are on the top list of things you should purchase organic if you can. Insects and diseases are prominent, and pesticides and toxic residues remain with the fruit after washing and peeling.

Pesticide Issues:
EWG 2009 Dirty Dozen, #1

How to Store:
Ripen on the counter. Peaches are best unfrigerated. Once the fruit has ripened, refrigerate immediately, and store 3 – 5 days to extend the shelf life, although the quality will not be as good.

Peaches release ethylene, which can spoil some produce. Store peaches away from:
Brussels sprouts
Lettuce and other leafy greens
Sweet potatoes

To Freeze Fresh Peaches:

  • Select well-ripened fruit and handle carefully to avoid bruising. Sort, wash and peel.
  • Syrup Pack: Use 40 percent syrup. For a better quality product, add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid per quart of syrup. Put peaches directly into cold syrup in container – starting with 1/2 cup syrup to a pint container. Press fruit down and add syrup to cover, leaving headspace. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down. Seal and freeze.

    Sugar Pack: To each quart (1 1/3 pounds) of prepared fruit add 2/3 cup sugar and mix well. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. To retard darkening, sprinkle ascorbic acid dissolved in water over the peaches before adding sugar. Use 1/4 teaspoon (750 mg) ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons cold water to each quart of fruit. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

    Crushed or Purée: Coarsely crush peeled and pitted peaches. For purée, press through a sieve or purée in a blender or food processor. (Heating pitted peaches for 4 minutes in just enough water to prevent scorching makes them easier to purée. For better quality, add 1/8 teaspoon (375 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of fruit. Pack into containers. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.

  • Store frozen peaches for up to 8 – 12 months
  • Canning

    See our Basics of Canning Fruit at Home
    Home Canned fruits can be stored for up to 1 year; they may lose quality after that point. Commercially canned fruit can be stored up to 3 years.

    See our Basics of Drying Fruit at Home

    To dry peaches, choose either Clingstone or Freestone varieties. Peaches must be firm and ripe with no green color. Wash peaches, dip in boiling water 1 minute, then dip in cold water to loosen peels. Slip off peels. Remove pits; cut in 1/2 inch slices or circles. Pretreat by dipping. Dry at 130 – 135oF until pliable with no moisture pockets. Water content of peaches is 89%.

    Dried fruit may be stored 6 – 12 months at room temperature, or indefinetly in the freezer.

    To keep dried peaches moist once a package has been opened, remember to keep under cool and dry conditions; away from heat and/or humidity, as well as concrete or brick walls. If you do want to refrigerate your dried peaches, or even if you want to store them for any length of time, be sure that they are in an air-tight container.

    To freeze dried peaches: Place in a zip-lock freezer bag, squeeze out the excess air, seal, and place in the freezer. Dried peaches will thaw quickly, but if you want to ‘speed up’ the process, pour boiling water over the frozen fruit. The heat and moisture will quickly thaw the fruit and it will also help add a bit of extra moisture. Be sure to drain off the excess moisture before using.

    Photo Source: weaselmcfee

    Return to Buying and Storage Guide for Fruits

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