Soda Water Is The Key To Keeping Cut Peaches Looking Fresh

You know it's summer when you start seeing crisp, sweet peaches pop up at grocery stores. Dripping with warm, syrupy juice, these quintessential summer fruits are just as sumptuous when sliced and eaten plain, served grilled with mozzarella on flatbread, or turned into gooey pies, cobblers, and upside-down cakes. Besides, there's nothing quite like grilled peaches topped with a few scoops of cold ice cream to beat the heat on a sunny day.

Alas, those firm golden peaches have a knack for turning brown and mushy rather quickly once sliced. While there are several ways to store whole peaches and keep them fresh for days on end, chop or cut them in any way, and you'll find that they start to look almost spoiled mere minutes later. But there is a way to prevent this from happening, and the answer lies in club soda.

All you need to do is soak the peach slices in club soda. You can pluck them out after five minutes, put them in a container, and then pop them in the refrigerator. The club soda soak will help peach slices stay crisp, plump, and golden for five days to a week. As a bonus, you'll be left with a batch of peach-infused club soda, which is a refreshing drink in its own right.

Why does club soda prevent peaches from browning?

Peaches aren't the only fruits that brown: Apples, bananas, pears, and even vivid green avocados take on a mucky hue once cut. Fruits contain enzymes known as polyphenol oxidases (PPOs), which help them to ripen. But the same enzymes get triggered when they are exposed to oxygen, causing them to release quinones. These quinones then react with air and oxidize in a process known as enzymatic browning, which is what ultimately gives those sweet summer peaches a slimy, unpleasant hue.

Browning is not an indicator of spoilage though, so peaches can still be eaten safely even if they look slightly worse for wear. But there's no denying that it makes them look rather unappealing and tempers the joy of biting into the juicy and vibrant stone fruit. This is where club soda comes in: The fizzy drink contains carbon dioxide as well as potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate. Together, they stop the process of enzymatic browning and keep peaches from spoiling too quickly even when cut. However, the key here is to use a drink that contains all three — not just carbon dioxide. This is why peaches should be soaked in club soda rather than seltzer or sparkling water – or any other carbonated drink.

More ways to keep cut peaches fresh

A brief club soda soak is a stellar way to keep cut peaches looking fresh for days, but it's not the only trick that you can use. Honey is another effective solution, as it contains a peptide that can disable the polyphenol oxidases that are responsible for browning fruits like peaches. Instead of club soda, dilute two tablespoons of honey in a cup of water and soak the sliced stone fruit in it for a few seconds. In fact, the same honey also prevents avocados from browning. There is a catch though: Honey will only stay effective for a few hours, so if you want to store peaches for longer, you'll want to stick to club soda.

The acid present in citrus juice can also keep peaches from turning brown. Soak the sliced fruit in a bowl of cold water spiked with a few tablespoons of lemon juice for a couple of minutes, and then pop it in the refrigerator after draining the liquid. But club soda may have an edge here too — it's a similar process but just slightly more effective.

This is because dunking cut peach in lemon-infused water can often leave the sweet fruit tasting like the sour and tart citrus. Instead, club soda works just as effectively at keeping peach firm, fresh, and bright, but it does so without affecting the fruit's flavor in any way.