Controlling Peach Brown Rot after Picking, Maximizing Shelf Life

garedneckJuly 6, 2014

Once i pick a peach or nectarine i store inside at room temperature in the kitchen away from direct sunlight at a constant 74 F. I find picking the peach a day or two before they tree ripen works best to keep birds/squirrels from ruining them, and be able to share with others ( a day to transport before ripe) and it seems i can get a better flavor and more intense sweetness letting it ripen on the counter top (or perhaps my salivating a few days before consumption is effecting my judgement!).

I have tried holding the fruit unwashed inside, soaking in water 10 minutes and soaking in water/bleach ( 1 gal water to 1/4 cup household bleach) 10 minutes with the last approach seeming to allow the fruit to stay brown rot free an extra couple days. What do you do to maximize room temp fruit (peach on others) life? Looks like many recommend NOT using bleach so i will probably try white vinegar or peroxide instead.

Park of my problem is the last couple years i've been getting some brown rot on the trees and must do a better job cleaning the orchard and additional sprays.

This post was edited by garedneck on Sun, Jul 6, 14 at 23:59

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I think I heard this from a guy in Nebraska. A really quick dip in boiling water. Kills fungus/bacteria but is too fast to have any effect on the fruit. I have not tried it myself though.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 9:44AM
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alan haigh

If you don't mind eating a little pesticide some fungicides are registered for post harvest dip or spray on day of harvest (kind of the same thing).

What fungicide(s) are you currently using? I use mostly something similar to Monterey Fungus Fighter which lasts considerably longer than Captan and has a more erradicant affect. Even when they're not sprayed after a month before harvest the peaches and nectarines I manage will generally soften before rotting.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:31AM
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I refrigerate mine after I pick them, but I let them ripen on the tree. Peaches don't ripen nor sweeten up once picked. All they do is go soft and rot.
You need to address your critter problem, and let the fruit ripen on the tree.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:27PM
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alan haigh

Rayrose, a day or two before the peach softens it has acquired pretty much all of its sugar, IMO (the commercial ones are picked much earlier than that). If you can or freeze peaches, it is always better to pick them this way. Also when you intend to give them away- soft-ripe peaches are almost impossible to transport without being bruised.

Some newer varieties don't really ripen well on the tree and need to be picked firm and ripened indoors. White Lady is one example of this. Zaiger specializes in varieties that ripen firm and fully sweet.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:20PM
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I find that refrigeration signifiacantly retards the browing/rotting process, and once the peach is picked, it doesn't ripen/sweeten any more Placing it on the counter only encourages the browning/rotting process. If you only have a few peaches to pick each day from one tree, it's much easier to try to time the ripeness of each individual peach, than if you're harvesting a number of loaded peach trees. Granted the whole tree will not ripen at one time, and will require several pickings, but the majority of the tree will.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:59AM
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alan haigh

RR, I agree, of course, that refrigeration slows the progress of BR. I also agree with you that if you have vermin interfering with your harvest, your best bet is to irradicate the vermin. For that matter, I agree with you that peaches don't get sweeter after you remove them from the tree.

But some people try to coexist with their vermin for their own reasons, and if said vermin isn't too hungry, it can be a wise strategy to pick the fruit while still firm but almost fully sweet. I don't really notice the difference between firm ripe and soft ripe in sweetness- as long as they are ripe.

Now I'm going outside to try to kill the only squirrel that is foraging on my property. Can't count on him to wait until fruit is soft- except plums, but I only like them soft tree-ripe.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:51PM
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This year i have used Bonide all in one fruit tree spray, immunox several times, a sulfur spray, copper in the winter and before bloom.

I tried blanching the fruit last night (momentary dip in boiling water) and the fruit turned brown on the surface and looks un appetizing. Will see if it rots this evening.

I have found many times picking the peaches a few days before fully tree ripe and letting the peaches sit inside they begin to "prune" which is the water evaporating and therefore remaining sugars and flavors intensified where a fully tree ripe peach will spoil the next day on the counter top.

I also found the peaches at the ends of the branches exposed to sunlight and on the side of the tree that gets the most sunlight grow the largest and taste the best. I use this strategy when planning my thinning.

Living in the city makes critter control difficult with all the restraints. But, i enjoy the challenge of getting that perfect piece of fruit , as you won't find anything as good in any store or restaurant!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:06PM
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alan haigh

Forget the Bonide and use Spectracide's Triazide. For peaches forget Immunox and use Monterey Fungus Fighter- Commercial growers only use the material in Immunox to help control blossom blight, which is BR in its earliest stage. It is not very affective after that. Great for apple diseases though- at least the spring ones.

There is a thread in the archives titled "Bucket of Death" which shows a discrete way to eliminate squirrels on your property. Other critters can be controlled with roof flashing wrapped around the trunks of your trees.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:35AM
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alan haigh

Roof flashing can also work for squirrels, but you need over 4' of fairly straight trunk from the ground before first branches, unless you make a big cone that accomplishes the same thing with branches angled well above horizontal.

If they're real hungry and pull themselves up the metal some 90 weight gear oil may help. The metal needs to be about 2.5' long starting at least 1.5' above the ground forming a cylinder around the trunk. Duct pipe can also be used.

I staple it right into the bark but remove them after harvest and reinstall the following year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:19PM
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