How is it possible that someone who lives less than an hour from the Georgia border would buy peaches at Costco, and in doing so would know only that they are shipped from New Jersey? It’s possible because I am tired of buying from the back of a truck, where the top peach is gorgeous, but the bottom peaches that make it into my bag are battered, bruised, and fairly rotten or wormy. For 50 cents a peach, I’m a big Costco fan.
But my recent batch was slightly under-ripe, and it occurred to me that many people may not know how to properly ripen a peach. We used to put them in paper bags, only two at a time and not touching. But that was a crap shoot as you weren’t suppose to check them, but rather leave the bag closed for three days. Sometimes this worked. Many times it didn’t.
So now peach wisdom leans toward leaving them in a ventilated area, but not in the sun and not in any place that is moist. Some suggest placing them between paper towels. Others recommend clean cotton of any kind on both the top and bottom. But I see this as simple microbiology. Just don’t touch them, and definitely don’t test them for softness everyday. Instead, smell them. It’s the aroma that will give you the best indication of their readiness. Each time you test them you’ll bruise them, not to mention add more bacteria from your own hands. Don’t wipe them. Don’t move them. Set them so they’re not touching each other. Just place them bottom side up on a clean tea towel, cover with another clean tea towel, and wait for the smells to begin. Unfortunately, they usually ripen all at once, but popping them into the ice-box will often slow, or even stop, the rippening process.
Forgive me, my Georgia friends, but whoever buys for Costco has my allegiance. Their peaches are fantastic (as are their oranges – which often come from South Africa). I made a blueberry/peach cobbler with the last batch, and my husband said it was the best ever. I used Turbinado sugar from Hawaii in place of plain sugar (even in the Bisquick topping) as well as doubled the cinnamon (because there is NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH CINNAMON). The recipe is linked below. Enjoy.