When life gives you peaches, reach for some fresh whipped cream.
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A plate full of peaches

Now's the time to take advantage of summer produce, especially perfectly ripe peaches. While they may not be in season for a long time, there are so many ways to use up sweet, juicy peaches. They're absolutely divine on the grill, in salads, as part of a charcuterie board, and of course in a cobbler or crisp. But just like some other stone fruit, the window for enjoying ripe peaches is short-lived, so it's a good rule of thumb to buy them when they're firm and let them soften over time.

If you simply can't wait to devour your summer peaches (hey, we don't blame you), there are tricks to expedite the ripening process. Try these hacks at home and enjoy all the wonderful ways you can cook and bake with peaches this summer.

How to Ripen Peaches

Similarly to avocados, apples, and pears, the ripening process for peaches can be a bit finicky. If you're not in a rush to eat them, simply place your peaches (not on their bottoms) on a platter or in a shallow bowl on your countertop. Be mindful not to stack them because that can slow down the process.

Stored this way, peaches should ripen within a few days, depending on how ripe they were when you purchased them. You'll know a peach is ripe and ready to eat when it's fragrant, slightly soft, and boasts vibrant golden-reddish skin.

How to Ripen Peaches Quickly

If you need to use your peaches within the same day, there are a few things you can try. Place a shallow bowl of peaches in direct sunlight but be careful that they don't get too hot, or they will start to bake. The heat will help ripen the fruit quickly.

You could also try the famous paper bag trick that's known to speed things up due to the ethylene gas that the fruit emits. Just pop a few peaches in a paper bag solo, or with a banana, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how quickly they'll be ready to eat.

RELATED: How to Tell if a Papaya Is Ripe and Ready to Eat

Uses for Ripe Peaches

Now that you've got a plethora of ripe peaches, use 'em in everything from a fresh salad to a delicious dessert.

Peach and Blueberry Buckle
Credit: Jens Mortensen

1 Peach and Blueberry Buckle

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There are few things more delicious than a buttery peach dessert at the end of a delicious meal. This buckle recipe is so simple to make (even if you're not a big baker) and it's the perfect balance of light but decadent. Pro tip: add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to enhance an already scrumptious summer delight.

Peach Cobble Trifle Recipe
Credit: Greg DuPree

2 Peach Cobbler Trifle

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This Peach Cobbler Trifle hits the spot on those summer days when you're craving something cold. The combination of juicy peaches, fresh whipped cream, and fluffy pound cake is simply too good for just one serving. And if you don't have a trifle dish? No problem! Just use a large glass bowl and adjust the layers as necessary.

Vietnamese Inspired Peach Salad
Credit: Heami Lee

3 Vietnamese-Inspired Peach Salad

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Not only is this salad beautifully vibrant, but it's guaranteed to satisfy all your tastebuds. It's sweet, salty, sour, savory, and has just a kick of spiciness which makes it a no-brainer side dish for any meal. While the spicy, garlicky dressing adds tons of flavor, it's no secret that sweet donut peaches are the star of this salad.

Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad
Credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo

4 Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

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Switch up your standard Caprese salad by swapping peaches for tomatoes. Rich, creamy mozzarella layered with juicy summer peaches and fresh basil is perhaps the simplest yet most flavorful dish you could make this season.

RELATED: 12 Easy Summer Salad Recipes That Use The Season's Best Ingredients

Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches
Credit: Con Poulos

5 Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches

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Who says peaches can only be used for dessert? This pork chop-and-couscous recipe is anything but ordinary since it's cooked with a mixture of vinegar, peaches, and onions. The best part is, it only takes 30 minutes to whip up, so it's great for a weeknight meal.

Vanilla Peaches in Rosé
Credit: Victor Protasio

6 Vanilla Peaches in Rosé

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This boozy dessert is luscious, elegant, and perhaps the best way to use up your summer fruit. Grab a bottle of your favorite rosé to make a sweet, floral syrup, drizzle it over a bowl of freshly sliced peaches, and let them soak in all that deliciousness for a few hours in the fridge.

Peach Iced Tea Recipe
Credit: Victor Protasio

7 Peach Iced Tea

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There's no better way to cool off on a hot summer's day than with a large glass of frosty iced tea. This Peach Iced Tea utilizes both dried and fresh peaches, lemon, honey, and mint, which makes it flavorful and refreshing. Make a big pitcher to keep in your fridge so you can enjoy it throughout the week.