Every fresh peach recipe starts with the same very important step: mastering how to cut a peach. Whether it’s a hearty stir fry with sliced peach, a diced peach dessert like pie or chips, or a grilled peach recipe that calls for halves, it’s important to get inside the fruit to remove the stone and make the peach uniform and edible make pieces.
Whether you’re harvesting them straight from a tree, stocking up on a bushel at the farmer’s market, or filling your cart with a few at the grocery store, your next steps will be washing the fruit, using any of these methods of slicing the peach, and Then it can go. (These techniques for slicing a peach also work with similar stone fruits like nectarines and plums, by the way.)
Juicy peaches belong to the drupe or drupe family. Both the fuzzy skin and the yellow or white flesh are edible, although we’ll briefly explain the peeling process as part of our guide to slicing a peach if you prefer it skinless.
How to choose a peach
Fresh peaches have their flowering season from June to August, but are often widely available from May to October or so. When choosing peaches to use for the next few steps of slicing a peach, follow these steps to pick the best from the bunch:
- use your nose You should smell a sweet, fruity, pleasant aroma.
- Then pick it up. Juicy peaches feel heavy for their size.
- Press gently. A ripe and finished peach should yield slightly, although the level of ripeness can vary somewhat based on personal preference.
- Avoid all greenies. To achieve the highest flavor, peaches should ripen and change color from green to yellow-orange on the tree.
- Stay away from bruises. Also avoid fruits with brown spots, dents, or bruises; these often signal deeper damage or spoilage (not just superficial wounds).
- Pay attention to these names. Fresh peaches are sold in two main types. Either will work for any recipe, although Freestones are easier to work with if you plan on cutting and dicing a lot of peaches.
- Clingstone or Cling, Peaches: The stone actually sticks to the fruit and is more difficult to remove when slicing a peach.
- Freestone Peaches: The pit comes off the fruit more easily.
If your fruit isn’t quite ripe when you bring it home, let it ripen on your counter at room temperature—or try this simple trick to speed up the peaches’ ripening process. When fully ripe, refrigerate your fresh peaches for up to 5 days before continuing with these steps for slicing a peach. This helps slow down the ripening process (AKA aging).
How to cut a peach in 3 ways
Because the fluffy skin can pick up and hold on to dirt, bacteria, and debris during harvest, travel to where it’s sold, and throughout the journey from the store or farm stand to your cutting board, be sure to wash it well under cold water .
If you want to remove the skin, now is the time. Here’s how:
- Cut a flat “X”. Using a sharp paring knife, cut an “X” on the bottom (non-stem side) of the peach with slits about 1 inch in each direction.
- Blanch the fruit. Gently lower the peaches into a saucepan of boiling water and let sit for 30 seconds.
- Chill out. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the blanched peaches to a large bowl of ice water.
After blanching all of the peaches, peel and slice them and once the fruit is cool enough to handle, use clean hands to gently peel the skin from the flesh of each peach.
How to halve a peach
Skin on or off at this point, read on to learn how to cut a peach in half.
- Hold the peach in your non-dominant hand, stem-side toward the ceiling.
- Using a sharp paring knife held perpendicular to the peach, insert the blade smoothly and gently until it reaches the pit.
- Keep the blade of the knife touching the pit the whole time until you get back to where you started and roll the peach around the blade.
- Put down the knife and gently grasp each peach half in the palm of each hand.
- Twist to split the peach in two.
- When the peach is ripe (and especially if it’s a freestone), the pit often pops out. If it sticks, gently loosen the core with a spoon to remove it. You now have peach halves, ready to go!
How to cut a peach
After following the steps above and slicing your fruit in half, you can continue with these steps to slice a peach if desired.
- Place the peach halves on a cutting board.
- Cut each half in half with your paring knife.
- Now that you have peach wedges, cut them into equal slices ¼ to ¾ inch thick depending on what you need for your peach recipe.
How to dice a peach
Now that you have slices, you’re only seconds away from diced peaches when you need them for things like peach salsa, peach compote or peach biscuits.
- Turn the peach slices perpendicular to the blade of your paring knife.
- Dice each slice into ½ inch pieces.
Frequently asked questions about slicing a peach
Whether you’ve halved, sliced, or diced your fruit, these test kitchen tips will come in handy.
- How do I keep my sliced, diced, or halved peaches from turning brown? Similar to other fruits like bananas, apples, and avocados, peaches “oxidize,” or turn brown, when exposed to air. They’re still completely safe after they’ve been tanned a bit, just less visually appealing. To slow down the browning time, toss the peaches with some lemon, lime, or orange juice (your recipe can help you decide on the ideal flavor profile). The vitamin C in citrus juice helps reduce the rate of oxidation.
- How long can I keep sliced peaches in the fridge? After halving, slicing or dicing the fruit, and tossing with citrus juice, place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator and consume the sliced peaches within 2 to 3 days.
- What should I do with my sliced peaches now? Eat them fresh, use them in one of our best sweet and savory peaches recipes, or preserve a touch of summer to enjoy any time of year by freezing or canning peaches.