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How to Freeze Fresh Peaches
How to have fresh peaches all year 'round
What's the best fruit in the whole wide world?
I've heard many people say "a perfectly ripe peach." I couldn't agree more.
There's just something incredibly satisfying about the texture of a peach in summer -- how it yields to your teeth and tongue when you bite into it, the intense aroma from the skin, and that unparalleled flavor.
How can you have them year 'round?
By freezing them -- it's easy -- and here's how to do it.
How to remove the skin from your peaches
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
Using a paring knife, make a small slit in the bottom of each peach. Put a few peaches into the water for about 30 seconds, then remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl with iced water.
After a few moments, you'll be able to use your fingers to easily remove the skin. If you find it difficult for some of them, just drop them back into the boiling water for another 30 seconds or so.
This method is quick and fool-proof -- two things i really like when I'm preparing a lot of peaches for the freezer.
How to Prepare Your Peaches
Once the peaches are peeled, use a sharp knife to cut them in half -- imagine you're cutting through the "equator" of the peach, then twist the halves. This method will allow you to keep that beautiful dark red meat around the stone.
Remove the stone and discard. I slice the peaches into a bowl, then move on to the next peach.
Sometimes, the peach flesh won't pull away from the stone. In those cases, I just cut the peach away from the stone as best I can... and move on to the next! Don't get hung up on having each slice look perfect.
Once I have a large bowl full of sliced peaches, i squeeze a whole lemon onto them (I squeeze it through a strainer to prevent the seeds and lemon pulp from falling into my peaches.)
Add sugar to the peaches, then stir them and the lemon juice to combine. How much sugar? It depends on the sweetness of the peaches.
HOWEVER, you will need sugar -- it acts as a preservative, and will also help maintain their beautiful color.
A good rule of thumb -- approximately one cup of sugar to each four cups of peaches. Occasionally you might have a batch of peaches that aren't all that sweet -- then by all means increase the amount of sugar.
The Last Steps
I put my peaches into quart freezer bags (not sandwich bags, of course -- they aren't thick enough to provide the protection your fruit will need.)
I write the date on the bag -- and if I plan to put up different batches of peaches I'll write who gave them to me, or where they were picked. Believe me -- once they're frozen you won't be able to tell one package from another unless you clearly label them.
Besides, when I serve a peach dessert, I like to tell my guests where the peaches came from.
Using a funnel, I put two cups of sliced peaches into each bag. You can also put three cups -- it depends on the number of people you cook for, and how you imagine you'll use your peaches.
For example, if you plan to eat them on ice cream, then two cups are plenty -- even for four or five people. But if you plan to make cobblers you'll probably want to put three cups per quart bag.
Press out the air, seal the bags, then lay them on the counter.
Clear a space in your freezer where the bags can lay flat. This is really important. If they're frozen into neat packages they can be moved to another part of the freezer and easily stacked. You'll be glad you took this step.
The first time I put fruit in the freezer I tossed them in willy-nilly, and ended up with these odd-shaped bags that took up way too much room.
Want to Know how to Freeze Fresh Squash? Click below.
That's all there is to it. These peaches will be good for up to a year -- and they taste as fresh as the day you were preparing them for the freezer.
When I defrost them for a cobbler, I put a bag in my refrigerator about 4 hours or so before I plan to start baking. However, if you're short on time, you can put the bags into a pot of hot water (from the tap) -- they'll be defrosted in a very short time.
Don't try to put them into a pie or cobbler while they're still half-frozen -- it will make your crust soggy. (This is the voice of experience...)
Enjoy your peaches!