How to Tell When Peaches Are Ready to Harvest

There is nothing quite like a freshly picked peach from your own peach tree. Learn how to tell when peaches are ripe and harvest the true taste of summer.

Contrary to the average store-bought peach experience, a peach picked at its peak is truly unparalleled and you will delight in the the challenge of keeping the juices from running down your arms to your elbows.

How do you tell when peaches are ripe?

Unlike pears, which are tricky because pears don't ripen on the tree, the only trick to telling when peaches are ripe is to use and trust your senses.


Carolina Belle Peach on Tree

Any experienced peach grower knows when peaches are ripe by their sweet aroma. You don't even have to be within arms-reach of the fruit to know when the tree has ripe peaches ready to be picked. Especially on a warm sunny day, the enticing scent of ripe peaches will practically surround the peach tree, luring you in.


Ripe peaches will lose their green firmness and they will "give" slightly when gently squeezed. You can test the firmness of a ripe peach while it is still on the tree. If the peaches are still hard when you squeeze them, they need more time to ripen on the tree. Check back in a few days.

Ripe Peach on Tree


A ripe peach will have put on some color and, most importantly, it will no longer have any green undertones. If a peach still has a greenish hint to its skin color, leave it on the tree for a few more days to ripen. If it is picked green, a peach will have a "green" taste to it and it will not be as sweet. Green peaches are not ideal for fresh-eating, but may be worth considering for pickling.

A hint about ripe fruit: Watch the wildlife, because they're sure to be watching your fruit – especially if birds start showing unusually keen interest in your trees! While most peaches on your tree come into ripening around the same time, your earliest ripe fruit will be what gets the most sun exposure – the fruit at the ends of the branches.

These are also the peaches that the birds get to first if you don't have protective garden netting on your trees.

Ripe Peach Harvest


Of course, taste is a greatly important indicator of ripeness. If you aren't confident in telling the ripeness of your peaches by smelling, feeling, or looking, then pick a peach and take a bite. If it's still a little crunchy and lacking that juicy sweetness you'd expect from a peach, then give the rest of the fruit some more time to ripen. Taste is a little more subjective, but what matters most is that you harvest your peaches when they taste good to you, so that you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor.