The Look of a Ripe Peach
Peaches vary in color, depending on the variety and the time of year. All peaches start out green and then slowly become yellow, but many varieties also attain a reddish blush. However, fruits receiving less light may never develop a reddish color.
So, don’t just look for this blush of red in determining a ripe peach. Look closely at the background color as the peaches approach ripeness, watching for the yellow to deepen and become slightly golden.
Also, take a close look at the skin around the stem of the peach. When a peach is fully ripe, the texture of the skin in this area often wrinkles slightly.
Squeeze Gently and Feel for Softness
Unripe peaches are hard compared to ripe fruit. Squeeze fruits gently and feel for a slight give in the texture of the flesh, indicating ripeness.
Get Up-Close and Use Your Nose
As a peach reaches the point of perfect ripeness, it also often develops more scent, but you need to get close and take a deep breath. However, some varieties have a more intense smell when ripe than others, so smell alone is not the best indication of a ripe peach.
Instead, use the look, feel, and smell of a peach as you decide the perfect time to pick it.
Problems with Peaches Ripening
If your peaches don’t seem to be getting ripe and tasty as the season goes on, there may be a problem in how you are caring for the tree. Growing condition affecting the ripening of fruit includes:
- Irrigation. Not enough – or too much – water can lead to peaches which do not ripen properly.
- Lack of sufficient sunlight. Peach trees need full sun, and trees planted in areas with too little light may have fruit that never reaches peak ripeness.
- Not thinning fruit. Peach trees often produce more fruit than can properly ripen. Thin out excess fruit to one every 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25cm). Thin fruits when they are approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter.
All the fruit on a peach tree does not become ripe at the same time. Fruit ripens unevenly over a period of a week to 10 days. Check individual fruits daily and harvest those at the peak of perfection for the tastiest peach harvest.