This tip is from Pearl Driver, the marketing director at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California (in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area) and Farmer Al Courchesne, a co-owner and farmer-in-chief.
“Before I started working with Frog Hollow Farm,” says Pearl, I would carefully inspect each individual piece of fruit and select what I believed was the sweetest and most ready-to-eat—only to go home and find out how off the mark I was!”
She now shares her “insider tips” on how to select peaches.
HOW TO BUY PEACHES
There are three main characteristics help to identify a sweet, juicy, ready-to-eat peach: color, touch and skin texture.
The real color you want to look for is not the rosy blush but the background color of the fruit. It should be deeply golden, not pale yellow.
The rosy red color is deceptive: Our brains are genetically evolved to think that the color red implies delicious and sweet. As a result, peach growers have bred the red color into their peaches. It doesn’t ensure superior fruit.
You can tell if a peach is ripe by a gentle yet firm squeeze with your fingers (not hard enough to bruise it). If there’s a little bit of a give, it means that the fruit is almost ripe—but not quite.
Leave that peach on the kitchen counter for another 2 to 3 days, until it is soft to very soft.
This is the most telling of all three characteristics, and the one least known.
You can tell that a peach is ready to eat by looking for signs of shriveled skin around the stem end. Those wrinkles indicate a really ripe peach.
The wrinkles develop during ripening, when water starts to evaporate from the fruit’s porous skin. As the peach starts to dry up, the flavors intensify.
Now you’re ready to head out and pick out some peaches.
Autumn Flame peaches. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.
When you get them home, here’s a grower’s tip: Always store fruit on your kitchen counter in such a way that no two pieces of fruit are in contact with each other.
In other words, it’s better to line them up on the counter than have them touching each other in a fruit bowl.
A final suggestion:
Pearl’s favorite fruits from the farm are the O’Henry peach and the Flavor King pluot. So keep checking the website and when you find them, treat yourself to a box.