I always get a little overzealous during peak peach season. Their beautiful hue draws me in, then their perfume seduces me into a stupor, and the next thing I know I am leaving the farmers market with a full peck of peaches. A peck of peaches is nearly 15 pounds, so once my stupor fades away, I realize there is no way my family can eat that many peaches before they go bad (although we've tried). Some years I have canned peaches and made jam, but the simplest solution for saving all those peaches is simply to freeze them.
The hardest part of preparing peaches for freezing is peeling them. By scoring the bottom of each peach with a paring knife and quickly dunking it in a boiling water bath and then an ice bath, the peach skin loosens, making it incredibly easy to peel. You can discard the peach skins or cover them with a bit of vodka in the fridge for a few days.
See It Done: How To Easily Peel Peaches Without a Knife
Acidity Preserves Color
Cookbooks and websites are full of recipes for freezing peaches in sugar or juice or syrup, but for those of us who want plain frozen peaches to throw into morning smoothies and bake into pies, there is a simpler way. By coating the peaches with a bit of lemon juice before freezing, the fruit will maintain its color and quality without added sugar. You can also use ground vitamin C (as Alton Brown suggests), or use a fruit-preserving product such as Ball's Fruit Fresh in place of the lemon juice.
Using Frozen Peaches
The best thing about freezing peaches without added liquid or sugar is that you can use them as you would fresh peaches. Throw them into smoothies, bake them into pies, or turn them into ice cream. You can sauté them with a little butter and sugar and serve them over pancakes or waffles. Add frozen peaches to wine or cocktails to both chill and flavor them.
Get a Recipe: 15 Recipes for Your Summer Peaches
How To Freeze Peaches
Makes 12 ounces frozen peaches
What You Need
1 pound ripe peaches
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Gallon zip-top plastic bag
- Blanch and cool: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Have an ice water bath ready. Using a paring knife, make a small, shallow X in the bottom end of each peach. Lower the peaches into the boiling water and leave them there for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches to the ice water bath.
- Peel: Gently rub the skin from the peaches and peel it off; it should come away from the flesh with minimal effort.
- Cut the peaches: Pit the peaches and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
- Toss with lemon juice: Place the sliced peaches and lemon juice in a bowl and toss to throughly coat.
- Freeze: Lay the peaches out in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
- Seal and freeze: Transfer the frozen peaches to a gallon zip-top plastic bag labeled with the date. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Return to the freezer.
- Storage: Frozen peaches can be stored for up to 3 months.