Friday, August 10, 2012

Freezing Peaches 101

Reliance Peaches grown in Weathersfield Vt
So you've picked some peaches. Now what? How about freezing them to enjoy at Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, or any cold rainy/snowy day this fall/winter.

Step 1. Make the Syrup
The syrup is really easy to make. I make mine in a 1:2 ratio. 1 Cup Sugar/2 Cups water. I usually make 10 -12 cups if I have a lot of peaches to freeze.
Measure out the water.
Add the Sugar.
Bring to a boil and set aside.
If you make too much, just put it in the fridge (about one week) and use it the next time you freeze peaches. My peach harvest usually lasts 3-4 weeks.
Step 2. Sort your peaches
I pick out the ones that are slightly soft to the touch and fairly pink

Step 3. Remove the Skin
Boil the peaches for a few minutes until you can see the skin shedding.

Step 4. Ice the peaches
Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Give them a few minutes in the ice water.
To peel the skin just lightly rub the peach. The skin will slide off easily, if not pop it back in the boiling water for another minute then ice bath again.
Remove any bruises and slice the peach in half.

Step 5. Acid to prevent browning (oxidation)
Half the peaches, remove the pits, and trim off any bruises you can see.
Toss the peaches with a splash of lemon juice and sprinkle with Citric Acid or Fruit Fresh (both from Ball Canning--they sell them at KMart, Walmart or online.)

Let the peaches set a few minutes to absorb the acid. Some peaches may brown when you thaw them but they taste fine or you can just cut the brown part away before serving--it's just normal oxidation.

Step 6. Get ready to Freeze
Spoon the peaches into freezer safe containers and cover completely with the syrup.
Label the containers, let them cool if you used hot syrup, then pop them into your freezer (manual defrost freezers are best--no freeze/thaw cycles to prevent freezer burn)

When you are ready to eat them thaw them in your refrigerator about a day before serving. Great for ice cream toppings, Peach Bellinis and just plain old peaches for dessert!

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