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Selecting Fruit

Selecting high quality fruit may be easier than you think:

  1. If you're buying fruit to eat the same day, it's best to look for fruit that is soft, gives to gentle palm pressure and has a sweet aroma.
  2. When buying peaches and nectarines, look for a deep yellow background on yellow flesh varieties and a creamy white background on white flesh varieties. The amount of red color varies by variety and is not an indication of ripeness or quality. When buying plums, look for a slight “give” when squeezed and a fragrant plum aroma. Plums come in a large range of colors that vary by variety, so a little “give” and a good smell are better indicators of ripeness than color alone.

Remember, quality does not depend on softness. Go ahead and buy firm peaches, plums and nectarines-they will ripen to juicy perfection at home.

Storing Fruit

It's easy to ripen firm peaches, plums or nectarines. Just ripen at room temperature for a day or two, or place it in a fruit bowl until it reaches your desired level of ripeness. Check the fruit daily. Once fruit has reached your preferred level of ripeness, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or more. Tip: never use a plastic bag; it may cause decay and can produce off-flavors. Never place unripe fruit in the refrigerator or it can become dry, mealy and flavorless.

Preparing

Preparing fresh Ripe ’N Ready peaches, plums and nectarines is quick and easy; just rinse under cool water and they're ready to use.

Determining which type of fruit to use:
clingstone vs. freestone

Use freestone fruit when recipes require uniform slices. Most peach varieties are freestone and are available May through October. Freestone nectarines are available in June and July. Use clingstone fruit when recipes require diced or pureed. All plum varieties are clingstone.

How to prevent browning on the cut surface of fruit

Dip slices of fruit in a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or simply squeeze fresh lemon juice over cut surfaces.

How to peel peaches

Put them in boiling water for 10 seconds or until the skins split. Plunge them into ice water to cool and stop cooking. The skins will slip right off. Tip: most peaches produced today have much less fuzz than they used to. You may find it is unnecessary to peel peaches used in most recipes. Plus, the skin is loaded with vitamins and phytochemicals important for good health.