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When to pick peaches

Posted by luke_oh zone 5 NE Ohio (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 10:53

My PF 13 peaches are beautiful and plentiful this year. Most still feel hard, but some have fallen and are soft and taste great. My wife is standing by to can most of these peaches. Should we pick while they are somewhat hard and soften after picking, or leave them on the tree until fully ripened and soft? I understand that they will not ripen any more after picking them, but will soften. Is this right? I think that they are just on the verge of total ripening. Thanks again for all of the great information that I have received from this forum. Luke

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When to pick peaches

  • Posted by fruitnut Z7_4500ft elev SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 11:34

Peaches do ripen off the tree. They get softer and sweeter. Most of my peach and nectarine ripen over a 2-3 week period. So I never pick them all at once.

I'm not into canning but would think you would need to peel and can while they are still firm.

RE: When to pick peaches

Except that, as mentioned in the other thread, it's hard to get the peel off underripe peaches. This makes a real difference in canning them.

RE: When to pick peaches

Someone mentioned to me the other day that his wife dips the peaches for a very brief time in boiling water and then is able to slip the skins right off, guess you'll get to figure out the timing yourself.

If you don't know how immature you can pick your fruit and still have it fully ripen off the tree, start now trying to figure it out. Mine seem to have a limit of no more than 4 days indoors before they begin to dessicate and shrivel. In order to pick and avoid waiting 4 days to fully ripen I look at the blush and background color around the fruit as well as feel for a spot that yields easily to very gentle finger tip pressure. If there is more than a hint of green, they won't fully ripen off the tree. My tree is Reliance, yours may well be different.

Be observant, it shouldn't take long to figure it out.

RE: When to pick peaches

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 15:31

I grow this variety, and am about done picking it this year. It's a commercial variety that takes about 2 pickings. As Michael says, wait till the background color turns yellow. Ideally, there won't be any green at all. But if you see a little green just around the stem after you've picked one, don't fret, it will soften and sweeten up if you leave it on the counter. When I pick, 25% of the fruit might have a little green around the stem. I try not to pick those, but many times, you can't tell until after you pick them, but they soften and sweeten just fine.

Fruit that have a yellow background color, but are still firm and allowed to soften on the counter, taste just as good as fruit that soften on the tree. We are only talking the difference of a day or two.

As a general rule the fruit on the outside of the tree ripen before the inside fruit.

If you have some fruit falling on the ground, you need to pick some of it (probably half).

Technically, peaches don't increase in sugar content once they are picked, rather the acid decreases giving the illusion sugar has increased.

By like I say, I've sampled a lot of fruit soft on the tree, and a lot properly counter softened, and the two are indistinguishable to me.

RE: When to pick peaches

  • Posted by luke_oh zone 5 NE Ohio (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 17:08

Olpea, Thanks for the 1st hand information. I think that I'll start picking tomorrow. I am very impressed with the PF13 peach so far. Your info is good news to my wife, she can freeze or can in stages instead of all at once. By the way, local peaches, Red Haven, are selling for $44.00 a bushel. Ouch! Thanks again to all who posted. Luke

RE: When to pick peaches

I pick my peaches when they are slightly soft on one small part- generally on the most sun exposed part of the peach.

Never noticed any sweetening up after picking- how bout a brix test, fruitnut. I guess if acid decreased it wouldn't necessarily show up on the test though.

RE: When to pick peaches

A few years back my newly aquired niece age 30 was walking in my orchard to steal a few early mac's. I saw a few peaches that hadn't been ripe when we picked 2 weeks before and asked if she wanted to try one. She said no she did not like peaches. they were so ripe they fell into my hand at a touch. I told her to take a bite and spit it out It wouldn't hurt my feelings. The next spring I was planting that kind of peach in the most prominent place in her yard, one at each end of her south facing deck. Last year she drove 3 miles to my house to deliver 1 perfectly ripe peach wrapped in tissue a week before mine were ready to start picking. She now has more fruit trees and they are doing as good or better then the best of my 300 trees. I think she weighs the fertilizer, and measures the caliper of each tree before applying it, measures the depth of mulch and the distance from the trunk on all 4 sides, and uses a rain guage and moister test to water. ( She is a genetic biologist at the Jackson Lab) One bite of a truely tree ripened peach brought her into the garden from electron microscope. now I have to convince her to create a strain of dominant genes in voles that don't like fruit trees. LOL

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