Freezing is a great way to preserve the lifespan of your peaches. By storing your peaches in a low-temperature environment, you'll prevent natural decay and germ growth.
Peeling and Ice Bath
Peaches are best frozen after they are peeled. Peeling requires a quick dip in a boiling water followed by a longer bath in ice-cold water. As the peaches cool the skins will slide off easily.
When they are skinned, put them into a bowl of water that has been acidified with a few tablespoons of lemon juice; this prevents oxygen in the air from turning them brown. Remove the central pit. You can choose to have peach halves or quarters.
Into the Freezer
Peaches freeze best in plastic freezer bags. You can use either quart or gallon sized. I recommend adding a tablespoon of sugar per quart to assist with preservation.
Peaches can also be frozen in hard-sided containers. Use that method if you’d like to freeze your peaches in a sugar-syrup. (To make a heavy sugar syrup- boil sugar and water in a one-to-one ratio; a lighter syrup is a two-to-one ratio. Bring to boil, then cool.) Cover peaches with syrup. Let cool completely then place on lid and place into freezer.
Remember that freezing will expand the volume of your peaches. Leave ‘head space’ in any container you choose to use. For freezer bags, that means pack the peaches tightly but not fully to the top of the ‘zip line’. For hard-sided containers, pack until approximately ½ inch from the top.
Always label your packages with name of product and date. (Last year I did not follow my own advice and defrosted squash soup instead of peach puree. Don’t let this happen to you!) Sharpie markers work great on plastic bags and containers.
As tempting as it is to load your freezer chock-a-block with glorious peaches and blueberries, always leave room in your freezer for the air to circulate. An over-packed freezer can waste energy and leave some foods that are in the middle unevenly frozen. Fast and even freezing ensures the highest quality of product.
Defrost items as needed, either in the refrigerator on on the kitchen counter for quick use. A slower defrost time does less damage to cell structures and results in peaches with a better taste and texture, perfect for toppings on ice cream, pancakes, oat meal, or mixed with plain Greek yogurt. Or else, frozen peaches can be added easily into smoothies, made into sauces, or frozen again with peach juice in an ice tray for easy, peach-cubes!
Now you can enjoy your peaches all year long!
A special thanks to Christina Ward, master food preserver for Milwaukee County, a writer of “Our Canning Instructions”.