When Can I Pick Peaches?

Updated on February 1, 2018
Organic peaches just after harvest.
Organic peaches just after harvest. | Source

When to Pick Peaches

If you're growing fruit trees for the first time, knowing when to pick fruit, especially peaches, can be tricky. Pick it too soon and it will either be tasteless, bitter, or hard as a rock. Wait too long and congratulations—you've just fed every insect, deer, raccoon, or squirrel in a two-mile radius. How do I know this? From experience! Last year, we had beautiful peaches on our backyard tree, but we weren't sure if they were ripe yet. So we waited and waited to pick them. Then, one day, I noticed a big green beetle on the tree. Not thinking much of it, I waited another day. Now we had squirrels stealing peaches AND big green beetles. You guessed it. Between the squirrel raids and the June bugs munching the fruit, we got a whopping two peaches out of about 30 on the tree. What a disappointment!

Learn from my mistake. Learn to recognize when peaches are just right to pick. Understand the signs of ripening peaches, and enjoy a bountiful harvest from your home orchard this year.

Peach tree blossoms in early spring.
Peach tree blossoms in early spring. | Source

Do you grow peaches?

See results

Signs that Peaches Are Ready to Pick

Peaches give off several telltale signs that they are ready to be picked. These include:

  • A strong scent of peaches. Ripening peaches smell delicious, like the fruit.
  • The overall fruit will have patched of red, orange, yellow and green. When the green disappears entirely (or close to it), the peach is ready to pick.
  • The fruit is easy to pluck from the tree.

Unripe peaches are green, like this one.
Unripe peaches are green, like this one. | Source

How Peaches Grow

Peach trees blossom with bright pink flowers in early spring. Many peach varieties require another variety for pollination. It's important when planning your home fruit orchard to understand which varieties will thrive in your area, and if you need to plant two or more trees if different varieties to ensure fruit development. Some peach varieties, such as Moorpark, are self-pollinating. Others such as Elberta need a peach tree of a different type in order to pollinate the fruit. Your local County Cooperative Extension office is likely to have a list of peach tree types that you can grow in your area, and can advise you both on the varieties needed for pollination as well as the distance apart to plant them.

After peach trees bloom, bees, wasps or other pollinating insects move pollen from one blossom to another. The flowers drop off and the base of the fertilized blossom swells, starting to take on the telltale peach-shape. Within a few short weeks, you'll see green fruit developing on the trees. If there are too many fruit on the branches, you should thin the fruit or pick off some and discard it. This will encourage the remaining fruit to grow bigger as well as help the branches support the weight of the developing peaches. You may need to brace the limbs if they're too heavy with fruit!

Peaches near the top of the tree ripen first. Next follows peaches near the sunniest side of the tree, followed by those on the outside, and lastly, those close to the trunk.

How Peaches Ripen

  1. Fruit begins as hard, green peaches.
  2. Peaches near the top of the tree ripen first.
  3. Peaches on the outside, on the sunniest and warmest sides of the tree, ripen next.
  4. Peaches near the trunk of the tree ripen next.
  5. Peaches near the trunk and towards the bottom of the tree ripen last.

What to Do If You Need to Pick Peaches Before They Are Ripe

What do you do, however, if you're faced with a situation like mine and the June bugs are invading, the squirrel army is advancing and the deer are munching? You can pick peaches before they are ripe, although it isn't recommended. Some fruits do ripen off the tree. Peaches can be picked if the green portions are still green but the peaches themselves are fully developed. They won't grow once they're off the tree, so make sure you try this ONLY with peaches that are almost-but-not-quite ready.

  • Pick the peaches carefully. Do not bruise the fruit!
  • Use a linen or 100% cotton tablecloth draped over a table or counter. Place unripe peaches in a single layer on the cloth.
  • Cover by folding the cloth over the peaches.
  • Let it remain undisturbed for a week. Check the peaches daily and turn them if they are ripening unevenly. Remember, ripe patches turn orange, red or dark yellow.
  • Once peaches are ripe, you can place them in the refrigerator to make them last longer.

How to Can Peaches

Storing Fresh Peaches

Once peaches are ripe, they need to be used quickly or they will go bad. You can refrigerate peaches; the cool temperatures should help them retain their flavor and freshness for up to a week. At room temperature, fresh, ripe peaches tend to go soft quickly and attract fruit flies. Bruised peaches make the situation worse, so when picking peaches from your home orchard, be very careful not to push too hard into the flesh with your fingers, and don't drop them into a basket - place them gently into the basket or sack you're using to carry your peaches indoors.

If you have too many peaches, they can be canned. The video below shows you how to home can peaches. Please use care, caution and the proper equipment to prevent food-borne illnesses.

Fresh peaches are a treat for the senses and a delight for the summer months. Many gardening zones in the United States can successfully grow peaches. Knowing when to pick them and, if you must, how to ripen them if picked a bit early, can help you preserve and enjoy the harvest.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anndango 5 years ago

      I absolutely love peaches. Too bad we can't grow them here. I have to pick them in the store :(

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 5 years ago from Northern California

      Peaches are truly a treat for the senses. I had an orchard for just a few years and enjoyed the wonderful flavors and joy of seeing the peaches develop from little fuzzy seeds to prime tasting delight. Aw the joys of country life!!

    • Jeanne Grunert profile image
      Author

      Jeanne Grunert 5 years ago from Virginia

      Squeezing can lead to bruising, especially with home grown fruit...color and scent are more reliable indicators. Thanks Paul!

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Well done! Peaches are a favorite of mine. I was always taught to squeeze peaches to see if they're ripe.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)