ripe-peach

Preserving Nutritious Ripe Peaches

Summertime, from June to September, is the season for ripe, juicy, and nutritious peaches. If you have peach trees, the exact date yours will ripen depends on the variety and local conditions. Once they come in, a peach tree produces ripe fruit for about ten days to two weeks. If your tree is in good condition and fully mature, this can mean more peaches than you can eat fresh.

Ripe Peaches Are Good for You!

Peaches are high in great flavor and also packed with good nutritional value. One medium-size ripe peach contains approximately 60 calories and the following recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A: 11%
  • Vitamin C: 19%
  • Vitamin E: 6%
  • Vitamin K: 6%
  • Potassium: 10%
  • Copper: 6%
  • Zinc: 4%

In addition, a single peach provides significant amounts of manganese, magnesium, folate, and omega fatty acids. Fresh peaches are definitely nutritious!

Ripening Peaches After Harvest

While peaches are tastiest when picked ripe from the tree, the fruit continues to ripen after harvest, as long as it is not picked too early. When peaches have a mealy texture, this is a sign they have been picked too green, and there is nothing you can do to improve them.

However, if you harvest your crop when they are only slightly underripe, you can bring them to full flavor and juiciness by storing them in a paper bag or wrapped in a clean towel and leaving them on the kitchen counter. Check them each day by feeling for softness, and eat or preserve them as soon as they are perfect.

Once a peach has reached its pinnacle of ripeness, you can store it in the refrigerator at 32°F (0°C) for a day or two more, but fully ripe peaches are highly perishable.

Ways to Preserve Ripe Peaches

Peach pie is a great way of preserving peaches, and pies can be frozen. One pie requires about 10 peaches. Jam and chutney are other culinary delights to consider for preserving ripe peaches.

Another simple way of preserving peaches is turning them into fruit popsicles. Simply remove the pits and chop the fruit into small pieces. Put the chopped fruit into the blender with a little lemon juice and sugar and puree. Then put the puree into popsicle stick molds and freeze them.

You can also easily freeze ripe peaches for later use. Remove the skin by dropping the fruit into boiling water for about 30 seconds and then slipping the skin off under cold, running water.