If you love eating peaches, you know what a sweet feeling they give you inside. You also know what a sweeter feeling you can get by making them last as long as you want and need them!
Now, how long do peaches last before you eat them, cook them, or share them with loved ones?
Read on to learn what the shelf life of peaches is and your options for making them exceed their best-by dates for a longer, sweeter time.
How Long Do Peaches Last After Harvest?
The life expectancy of peaches depends on whether they are ripe or not. It also depends on how they are stored when waiting for them to become fresh or when they will be eaten after they become fresh.
Ripe peaches are soft, and when you grasp them, they will give just a little without any mushiness or leaky juices and will give out a sweet aroma. When they are placed on a counter at room temperature, they will last for about three to four days.
Unripe peaches are firm when you grasp them. They are expected to ripen after just one to three days, so adding the pre-ripening days to the post-ripening days will make them last at least a week. Of course, that also depends on how you store them until they are fresh.
Peaches that are cut up can have a time crunch. By slicing peaches, you will have at least two to four hours before they go bad unless you store them right away in your refrigerator or freezer.
Knowing When a Peach is Spoiled
When noting the texture, you want your peaches smooth and soft, but not too soft, when they are ripe. It does not have to be the whole peach either; any spots on it that are softer than desired or any wrinkles are tell-tale signs that a peach is rotting.
Color is another way to detect spoiled peaches. The color of unripe peaches is green, and ripe peaches should be orange or yellow. (The red color indicates sun exposure.) If they are brown or a darker color, it is time to throw them out.
If your peaches have a musty, cringy odor, there is no doubt that you need to discard them. Stinky, mushy, spoiled fruit is something people would like to avoid, and that goes for having them around the house, rotting further. However, you can prevent peaches’ expiration from coming too soon by learning a few ways to extend peach shelf life.
Extending Peach Life Expectancy
Now that you have a general idea of how long peaches last, here are a few options for making peaches last longer. Let us start with what you should do before getting them ready to eat and saving them for another time.
Storing Peaches Until They Ripen
When you purchase peaches, you want them to be fresh to eat, but they will not always be ripe when you select them for the checkout counter or pluck them off of a peach tree. Here are a few ways to ripen them:
1. Place them shoulder-first on the counter, with a towel placed underneath, at room temperature without letting them touch each other.
2. Seal the peaches in a paper bag to trap the ethylene gas, but add a few holes in the bag for ventilation. (To speed things along, add another fruit to go with them!)
After one to three days, remember to check the peaches for a sweet scent and a soft touch.
How to Properly Store Peaches in the Refrigerator
Now that your peaches are ripe and fresh, you can use any of the following items to store peaches for when you put them in the refrigerator:
1. Airtight containers
2. A plate with plastic wrap
3. Aluminum foil
4. Plastic bags
The key to really preserving peach life is to deprive any of the above-mentioned items of as much oxygen as you can after putting the peaches in them.
Be sure to check the temperature of refrigeration to ensure it aids in slowing down further ripening, at least 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The last thing you want to do is to speed up the ripening to the point they begin to rot.
How Long Do Peaches Last When Refrigerated?
That depends on whether they are sliced or unsliced. If your peaches are sliced, they will last for about two to three days. If your peaches are unsliced, they will last for as long as three to five days. Still, it never hurts to check them whenever you open the fridge.
How to Freeze Peaches and Store Them Properly
Another option for extending peach life is to freeze peaches. One way to do so involves the following items:
1. Baking sheet
2. Parchment paper
3. Lemon juice (optional but helpful)
4. Two pots large enough to hold peaches
5. Sharp knife
6. Cutting board
7. Large spoon
Before peeling the skin off, cut an X at the bottom of each peach. Then place them in one pot of boiling water to blanch them. Wait for 30 seconds to about a minute, or when the skin starts to split at the X, and quickly spoon them into another pot of ice water.
Once the peaches have cooled and dried, peel the skin. Remove the pits from the peaches’ centers after cutting them in half. After you slice them, if you choose to, sprinkle them with lemon juice—another way to extend peaches’ shelf life for an extra few days.
Take some parchment paper and place it on a baking sheet. Line the slices up on the sheet and put them in the freezer for about four hours or overnight. Finally, take a plastic freezer bag, date it, place the peaches in the bag, and put them back in the freezer.
How Long Do Peaches Last When Frozen?
By freezing peaches in a sealed and airtight bag, they can last up to six months or longer.
How to Dehydrate Peaches for a Longer Shelf Life
You can extend peach life expectancy if you dehydrate your peaches. Dried fruit may not always be a preference for peach lovers, but it is worth looking at the health benefits. There are many ways to dehydrate peaches, but here is a simple way to do so. First, you will need the following items:
2. Dehydrator tray
3. Sharp knife
4. Cutting board
Now, peeling the skin off of them is optional. Some people are good with eating the fuzz on the skin, while others would rather have it come off. (See the earlier section on how to freeze peaches for how to peel them.)
Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits from their centers. Next, cut them into slices, either at about 1/2 or 1/4 or even 1/8 of an inch thick, depending on your slicing preference.
Line the slices up a few inches away from each other on the tray. The dehydrator is to be set between 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and the slices will take somewhere between eight to 12 hours, even up to 36 (depending on how thick the slices are), to dry up.
How Long Do Peaches Last When Dehydrated?
They will last you for about six months to up to a year if you place them in an airtight container and store them in the pantry or refrigerator. When bagging them for the freezer, you would add six months to them!
Wondering what to do with your dehydrated peaches? How about making peach cobbler?
Understanding Peach Life Expectancy
So how long do peaches last? With only a few hours to a few days, even as long as a year, thankfully there is more than one way to make them last longer than their best-by dates. If you can enjoy a ripe peach for as long as you can without a short time limit, then you should!
Visit our peaches page to learn more about this sweet and juicy fruit and other ways to store and save them to your satisfaction.