How To Pick And Store Peaches Or Nectarines

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This articloe provides helpful tips and instructions for harvesting peaches and nectarines
by Brett · All Zones · Techniques & Methods · 0 Comments · October 21, 2013 · 6,601 views

The only difference between a peach and nectarine are that peaches are fuzzy and nectarines are smooth. They are one of the iconic summer fruits and can be canned for later use, made into sweet jelly or sliced and eaten fresh over your breakfast or dessert.

When to Harvest

Depending on the region you're in, peaches and nectarines usually hit their peaks between June and August.

There is an art to finding and picking a ripe peach. Firstly, a peach that is ready to be picked has a yellow background color (creamy white for a white peach). Do not pay attention to red color as it is only a sign of direct sun exposure. Green skin color means the fruit still needs to hang on the tree to reach full maturity.

Once the fruit is yellow or creamy white it will start to soften on the tree or off. So, when picking, a hard yellow peach is a good canditate for the bottom of your container, and will become soft after a couple days of being in your home. A soft peach picked off the tree must be used within two days. But because peaches and nectarines bruise easily, it's best to pick out ripe peaches with your eyes, not your hands. Squeezing the fruit can and will cause them to bruise. Just remember to look for yellow color.

How To Pick Peaches And Nectarines off The Tree

You'll want to gently twist or use a pair of sharp hand pruners to cut the fruit off the tree and place it in your harvesting container. To avoid bruising the fruits handle them carefully, like you would eggs.

How To Store Peaches And Nectarines

Do not leave the fruit in your harvesting container(s) once you've got them indoors. Instead, you'll want to start sorting them right away into those that are not quite ripe and those that are ripe. A ripe fruit will yield a bit when pressed very gently. An unripe fruit will be hard to the touch.

The fruits that needs some time to ripen can be spread out on a counter, not touching each other and not in the sun. These should ripen within 2 to 3 days. Check their ripening progress frequently and discard any fruit that has started to spoil. To speed up the ripening process, place nectarines or peaches in a paper bag and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.

Fruit that is ripe enough to use may be stored in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator, which will prolong its eating life for up to a week or keep the fruits until you want to process them for other purposes.

Freezing Peaches or Nectarines

Stone fruit takes well to freezing. First, peel the fruit: drop into boiling water for 30 seconds, plunge into cool water, then remove the skins. Slice open and remove the pits, which can impart bitterness to the fruit during freezing. Place in an airtight container and they will last for up to a year. Rolling stone fruit in sugar before freezing helps to preserve the shape.


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