It’s summertime, and peaches are ripe! This week the stores were overflowing with local fruit and even WalMart and Aldi had more than they could sell, so they ended up at .80/lb.
That’s really cheap.
As I stood at the fruit stand filling my 3rd produce bag, a couple walked by. The lady exclaimed “oh gosh! Eighty cents? SO CHEAP!” and reached for a bag, when her husband interjected “only what you can use in 36 hours. They go bad so fast!”
I grinned and finished filling my 3rd bag. I was about $4.80 in. I pulled a new bag off the roll and started filling it. The lady looked at me incredulously.
“They take 5 minutes to preserve. You can’t beat this price.”
“Five minutes?? That’s a LOT of slicing and packaging in five minutes!”
“But I don’t slice them… I… ”
But that’s what this post is about. Because people don’t freeze peaches like I do. They peel and slice and sprinkle preservatives or brine in sugar and then they can or bag and freeze.
So much work. Seriously.
So this is how I perfectly preserve peaches in the freezer with almost no work and zero additives.
Genuinely zero. Nothing but perfect, golden peaches that hold their color.
The best part of this is that you can process your peaches as they get ripe. They never get ripe all at once. But over the course of three or four days you can get them all done with five minutes here and five minutes there.
Step one. Slice them in half.
Just follow that little line that causes every cartoonist to draw butts shaped like peaches. Slice in until you feel your knife hit the pit, then rotate the peach in a full circle so you have clean halves. Hold the peach in both hands and gently twist the top half like you’re opening a bottle cap.
Step Two. Remove The Pit.
Take the edge of your knife blade and gently slip it under the edge of the pit and carefully wedge it out. Once you’ve broken it loose of the center fibers you can pull it gently with your fingers.
Step Three. Lay The Peaches Face Down On A Cookie Sheet.
Line it with wax paper if you like, but it isn’t a requirement. Just make a nice even layer with the exposed flesh of the peach up against the pan, and slide the whole thing into your freezer.
Step Four. Soft Freeze.
Leave them in the freezer just long enough for them to feel solid. It doesn’t take more than an hour or two. Though, I’ll admit. If I’m waiting for the next batch to have 12-24 hours to ripen then I’m likely to leave them exactly right here until I need my cookie sheet for the next round. It doesn’t hurt them to freeze them all the way in this step. Just don’t let them get freezer burnt.
Step Five. Transfer To Ziplocks.
Pop them off the cookie sheet and dump them into ziplocks. Lable with your month and year and fill your freezer. Try to use them all before the next summer…
This is my favorite part.
- a bowl of hot water.
That’s it. What you’re gonna do with it determines the rest. Gonna make a cobbler? Then you need a cutting board and a bowl/measuring cup and a knife. Gonna make a smoothie? Don’t even use the bowl. Just pull a peach out of the bag and:
….dunk it in the hot water (or run it under warm water from the faucet)…
….Seriously. I love this….
….the skin slips off.
Forgive me for a second as I chanel Ree Drummond and say “eww. Ignore my weird alien hand.” 😉
But seriously. That’s it. Now you have a perfectly shaped, perfectly colored, frozen peach to use.
If you leave them sitting out to thaw without using them they WILL turn brown. But if you move forward immediatley they will not. They slice beautifully while half frozen, so go ahead and slice and measure and sugar them and they will stay beautiful.
Or just drop that perfect little half circle into your blender and enjoy.
Now go fill up your freezer. If you have $10.00 and a few ziplocks then you can enjoy completely natural sugar free peaches in your smoothies and cobblers and muffins and cakes and parfaits for the next 12 months.
P.S. How To Know Your Peaches Are Ripe:
Peaches are best when the skin starts to wrinkle/pucker. If the skin is still tight against the fruit then it isn’t ready. Once they are puckered, though, you are ready to go.
This is the easiest time to use them fresh, also. Not only because the flavor is best, but because you can use your knife to catch an edge of the skin and peel it off in pieces by pulling it, instead of slicing it!