A common question from customers is how to keep their peaches. I took home a half bushel of peaches for me and my husband, and am now at the end of them. I didn’t lose any. Here is how to keep them as long as possible.
Ripe peaches are very fragile, and it is impossible to keep from bruising them while picking, packing, and just regular handling. They also have a very short shelf life. That is why we (and most orchards) pick them while they are still firm requiring you to let them ripen for a couple of days. Our packers separate out any ripe peaches which are sold at a discount in case you need a few ripe peaches that day.
When you get your box of firm peaches home, store them in the refrigerator. Unless you bought them to can all at one time, remove a few peaches at a time from the refrigerator to ripen. Lay them in a single layer. In a day or two, they should be ready to eat. My husband and I rotated through a large box of peaches doing this. We always had the right number of ripe peaches ready when we wanted them, but had them last for much longer than if I had let the whole half bushel ripen at once. Once they have ripened, they can be put back in the refrigerator.
Occasionally, a customer returns to the orchard to complain that their fruit went bad. When questioned, they admit that they had not refrigerated it, but had kept it in a garage or “cool” back bedroom. Fruit will rot fairly quickly if not kept cold, like most perishable produce. The colder the better (above freezing) and the longer your fruit will last. I have eaten ripe peaches I picked off the tree, and peaches that I stored in my refrigerator. Once ripened, they taste the same.
More important is whether the peaches are locally grown and fresh-picked, not having been shipped a thousand miles or more. When I lived in Arizona and bought peaches at the store, they more often than not rotted before they got ripe and sweet. Kind of like waiting for a store-bought tomato to taste good.