What To Do With Unripe Peaches (Tips and Tricks)

There are a few things you can do to unripe peaches so you can eat them faster, but which method you choose depends on how patient you are!

What To Do With Peaches That Won't Ripen


  • Impatient = cook them up, or
  • Patient = put them in a paper bag and wait a day or two.

There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a peach to ripen. It’s so close, you can almost taste the sweet flesh on your tastebuds. To help you out, I’ve put together a guide for what to do with peaches that won’t ripen. Including ways to ripen them quickly, or even methods to cook up unripened fruit.

So let’s jump in!

How to Ripen Peaches (If you have time to spare)

Say you can think ahead (or you have the patience of a saint) and you have a couple of days to spare. You can ripen peaches by putting them in a brown paper bag, loosely sealing them, and leaving them at room temperature to ripen.

Why Do Brown Paper Bags Work?

The bag traps ethylene gas released by the fruit allowing them to stay in close contact with the peach to help ripen it faster. After a day or so, check for signs of ripeness using the tips below.

brown paper bag with fruit & vegetables

How to Tell When a Peach is Ripe

Tips to check for the ripeness of a peach:

  1. Visual inspection – As the peach ripens, you should see the green patches on the skin reduce and change to more of a yellow color.
  2. Sniff test – give the peach a good smell. A ripe peach will give off a beautiful peachy aroma. If you can smell it, it will be good to eat!
  3. Light squeeze – if there is a bit of giving to the flesh underneath the skin, the peach is ready. Remember: Don’t squeeze too hard, because if you do, you will just end up bruising the delicious flesh underneath.

Bananas – An Unlikely Hero

What about putting your unripe peach in the paper bag with a banana?

Going on the same principle, try placing a banana in the same bag as a peach to hasten the process. Bananas are known to release more ethylene than peaches, which will ripen your peach quicker than on its own.

What to do With Ripened Peaches

Once you have ripened the peaches and they are ready to eat, either eat them straight away or put them into the fridge.

They will last a few more days in there while you munch your way through them. Alternatively, you can freeze them and they will last months.

What to do With Peaches that Won’t Ripen

ripened peaches

But what do you do if you want it sooner or have attempted the above and it still isn’t ripening?

If you are impatient (like me) or you have tried the above and still had no success, fear not, all is not lost! You can cook it so you can have it sooner.

The bonus of doing this is you can add some extra ingredients to enhance the flavor or sweetness of the fruit to your taste preference (I like them sweet, with a little hint of tartness). You are also making the fruit softer for easier digestion.


  1. Choose a pot that is big enough to hold the peaches that you would like to poach.
  2. The poaching liquid can be plain water, sugared water, or fruit juice. Ensure you have liquid in the pot to cover the fruit completely. If it helps you to gauge the volume of liquid required, you can put the fruit into the pot and then put the liquid in after. Just ensure that you remove the fruit before you begin heating the liquid, otherwise, you may overcook your peach and end up with a pile of mush – and no one wants that!
  3. You can either peel them before or after you have poached the fruit, and leave them whole or cut them into smaller more manageable pieces. This decision is completely up to you and will depend on how you would like to present your perfectly poached fruit in your final dish.
  4. Heat the liquid and you would add in the sugar and additional flavors (if using) at this stage.
  5. When the liquid is boiling (and the sugar dissolved if included), reduce the heat so that the liquid is just simmering. Lower the fruit into liquid, being extremely careful not to burn yourself with the hot liquid. My tip: Put fruit on a spoon to lower it down to avoid hot liquid splashing up and scalding yourself.
  6. Continue to cook the fruit until tender, approximately 10 – 15 min. Use a skewer to test this. The cooking time required varies depending on how hard the fruit was initially and how soft you would like the end product to be.
  7. Once cooked to your desired consistency, allow the fruit to cool in the liquid.
  8. After the fruit has cooled, remove the skin if you haven’t already. The skin should come away easily now.

If you would like to, you can leave the fruit in the fridge overnight to absorb more of the flavors from the poaching liquid. Or if you’re like me (and don’t have the patience), you can eat it straight away.

Recommended spices to poach peaches with:

  • Cinnamon (perfect for a Christmas dish)
  • Vanilla Bean (always a classic flavor that works well year-round

Why not try Nigella’s absolutely delicious poached peaches recipe as seen in the video below?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are unripe peaches poisonous?

No – unripe peaches themselves are not poisonous. There are many recipes that provide instructions on how to pickle, cook and make vinegar from unripe (green) peaches. The seed (or pit) of a peach does, however, contain trace amounts of cyanide. Although a large number of seeds would need to be ingested for poisoning to occur and this is more likely if they are chewed, crushed or ground up.

Can you cook with unripe peaches instead of ripe ones?

Yes – you may just need to increase cooking time and add more sugar to compensate for the reduced sweetness of the unripe fruit.

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