We had peaches!
Bad frosts and windstorms had taken our peaches before they reached marble size in previous years. But, this year we had peaches turning golden, pink and red. I dreamed of peach jams, cobblers, pies and crisps.
I started checking the fruit daily, feeling peaches to see if they had softened. As the summer days lengthened, our tree, heavily laden with fruit, became as gorgeous and fragrant as any flower.
I swear, I could smell the peaches ripening. Evidently so can Japanese Beetles.
Yesterday disaster struck.
Some peaches were ripe
BUT, every “ripe” peach was swarming with and being devoured by Japanese beetles. Only the ripe peaches, mind you. The hard peaches, they left alone
DH and I grabbed ladders and sacks and began picking. We picked every peach we could. After soaking them to get rid of any insects I set them out on my counter as recommended here: http://tonytantillo.com/fruits/peaches.html
Some food experts recommend putting peaches into a paper bag to ripen. Others swear that the only way to have good ripe peaches is to only pick them at the moment of peak ripeness.
Mine were ready to eat after only a couple of days on the counter.
How to tell if peaches are ripe:
Attached to the tree: Peaches are best picked when the fruit separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn’t ripe!
Color: Green is definitely unripe, but you can’t use red color as an indicator of how ripe a peach is. Different peach varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint, while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to yellow-white.
Softness: Unless you like your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little “give” when gently pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing, and baking. Peaches won’t ripen very much after picking!
Odor: The peaches should smell sweet and ripe