We're approaching the middle of July, which means one thing to fruit-lovers: Those seductively fragrant peaches you've been waiting for are here. We've already shared a few tips to help you pick the best peaches of the lot, but it's just as important you know how to store them when you get home. The answer all depends on how ripe the peaches are and when you plan to use them. Here's what you need to know.
Storing Peaches That Aren't Quite Ripe Yet
When peaches are firm to the touch and lack their signature sweet fragrance, they need a few more days to ripen before they're ready to eat. Until then, the best place to store them is on the counter at room temperature. Keep them unwashed, and place then stem-side down, preferably in a single layer to avoid bruising.
You don't have to go the slow-and-steady route if you and your tastebuds are in a hurry. You can speed up the ripening process with a pretty simple tip. Grab a paper bag (and a banana if you're in a real rush) and tuck those peaches inside. In one to three days later, you'll have a peach perfection.
Read more: What's the Fastest Way to Ripen a Peach?
Storing Ripe Peaches
Ripe peaches are best when eaten right away, but if you have more than you can eat in a single sitting, stash them in the refrigerator for up to a couple days. The cool temperature slows down ripening and prevents the peaches from quickly spoiling. It's worth noting, however, that extended time in the fridge will dehydrate the fruit, making the texture less appealing. If it gets to that point, make peach butter.
Know the telltale signs of ripe peaches: 3 Signs Peaches and Plums Are Ripe and Ready to Eat
Long-Term Peach Storage
If you have more peaches than you can possibly eat before they start to spoil or the skin gets wrinkly, the best place to store them is in the freezer. Ripe (not mushy) peaches are best for freezing. Peel the peaches, slice them into wedges, then freeze them on a baking sheet or plate before transferring them to a freezer bag. They'll keep well for months, retaining their sweet flavor and orange hue. Defrost them as needed for anything from smoothies to cobblers to pies.
Read more: How To Freeze Peaches