Does this delicate stone fruit belong on the countertop or in the refrigerator?
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whole peaches on wood table
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Peaches are a favorite summer fruit, but they can be fickle, as anyone who has tried to keep a peach at that perfectly ripe window for eating knows. Ripening a peach is a whole different issue; today, we're dealing with how to store ripe peaches properly. We asked the experts—David Lebovitz, a baker and the author of Ripe for Dessert, Molly Siegler, culinary development at Whole Foods Market, and Daniel Litwin, VP of procurement at Misfits Market's, to share their insights.

What Is the Best Way to Store Ripe Peaches?

When you have ripe peaches, so the last thing you want is to ruin them by improper storage. At peak ripeness, peaches are best kept "at room temperature on a flat, non-porous surface," Seigler advises. More importantly, Seigler and Lebovitz agree that the stone fruits should be stored stem-side down to avoid developing any soft spots. Litwin adds that "if your peaches are ready for you, but you're not ready for them, feel free to store them in the fridge for a couple of days."

What Happens When They're Stored in the Refrigerator?

All of our experts agree that if your peaches haven't reached peak ripeness, refrigeration is not a viable option. Seigler warns that "peaches will start to dehydrate and get wrinkly and darker in color when stored in the refrigerator." Aside from marring the aesthetic of beautiful peaches, both Lebovitz and Litwin point out that refrigeration will slow down the peaches' natural ripening process. Refrigeration is only helpful "if you'd like to use the peaches a few days later," Leibovitz notes. Ultimately room temperature storage is best for overall appearance, ripeness, and juiciness of peaches.

What's the Best Method for Freezing Peaches?

Having too many ripe peaches is a good problem to have! Try freezer storage, as it's a great way to preserve fresh peaches. Seigler suggests that you cut the peaches "into wedges or cubes and toss them with a bit of lemon juice, spread the prepared peaches on parchment-lined baking sheets, and then transfer to the freezer to freeze completely." Once they are frozen solid, "transfer the frozen peaches to labeled freezer-safe sealable bags and keep frozen until needed."

What Can I Do with Overripe Peaches?

If your peaches are past peak ripeness, they can still be salvaged. Seigler says, "Overripe peaches are great for the freezer treatment and can also be mashed up and used in baking projects as a natural sweetener." Since peaches develop a softer texture when overripe, Litwin adds that "pies, smoothies, or even a blended cocktail" are other great uses!

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