Sunday, August 17, 2008

How To: Freeze Fresh Peaches

My dear DH acquired a bushel of beautiful local peaches for me late last week. I gave half to another baker-friend at work, but I still had 25 peaches to deal with!

After peach ice cream Friday night, peach milkshakes Saturday, and a peach cobbler on Sunday, I knew I had to find some way to store the remainder of my peaches before they went bad.

As I'm still in a teeny apartment, canning was out. No place to store it.

But I could freeze them!

I did some research on the proper way to freeze peaches, because I wanted to make sure they'd be useful in more than just smoothies when I defrosted them.

I came across a fabulous set of directions here -- and decided that if I didn't know the proper way to freeze peaches, other people probably didn't either -- so here ya go!

Freezing Peaches *
*This process is also recommended for plums, cherries, or nectarines

Step 1: Select Your Fruit
- Fruit should be sweet, and ripe, but not overly-ripe and mushy

Step 2: How Many Peaches?
- It takes 5-6 good-sized peaches (or 10 plums) to produce 1 quart of frozen fruit

Step 3: Prepare the Sugar (or other sweetener) Solution
- You can store your peaches in simple syrup, peach, white grape, or apple juice -- your choice!
- This sugar-y solution/fruit juice is added to help improve flavor and keep the fruit from turning nasty shades of brown while frozen
- This handy table came from the website. It's handy if you're making a simple syrup to use for this process. 
- Choose your level of sweetness by how sweet your fruit is.
- To make the syrup: Heat the water on the stove, and slowly stir in the sugar/Splenda, until completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and let the syrup cool completely before adding to the peaches.
- You'll need about 1 cup of simple syrup per quart of peaches

Type of SyrupSugarWaterYield
Fruit juice (peach, apple or white grape)004 cups
Splenda (2 cups)06 cups6 cups
Light sugar2 cups6 cups7 cups
Medium sugar3 cups6 cups6 1/2 cups
Heavy sugar4 cups6 cups7 cups
Step 4: Wash the Peaches
- can handle this step on your own.

Step 5: Peeling the Peaches
- Don't do this by hand -- it's a pain!
- Bring to a boil a large pot of water, add the washed peaches for 20-45 seconds. Then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place in an ice water bath for several minutes.
- When you remove the peaches from their ice water bath, the skins will be easy to peel off.

Step 6: Cut Up the Peaches
- Remove the pits and slice the peaches however you prefer -- slices, quarters, whatever
- Be sure to remove any brown or mushy spots

Step 7: Prevent the Fruit From Darkening
- You can use 1/4 cup lemon juice, or Fruit-Fresh to help preserve the peaches color
- Add your lemon juice or fruit fresh, and gently mix with your hands to make sure all your peaches are covered

Step 8: Mix the Peaches with the Sweetener Solution
- In a large bowl, mix your sliced peaches, and 1 cup of the completely-cooled simple syrup (or fruit juice) 
- Fill Ziploc bags (use the freezer style!) or Tupperware containers with peaches and simple syrup (Quart ziploc's work perfectly, but all I had was Gallon!)

Step 9: Freeze
- Place containers of peaches in the freezer to harden up. 

To Use:
Set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours to thaw.

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

Good to know. Thanks for the great instructions!