Peaches are the quintessential summer fruit. It can be challenging to keep up with all the fresh peaches you need for your pies, cobblers, and jams when they come into season. The best thing about peaches is that they are a delicious summer fruit that you can enjoy fresh or preserve for later and all you need to do is learn how to freeze peaches.
You can freeze peaches whole, halved, or even sliced. Freezing peaches will depend on how you plan on using them in the future. You also have a choice of whether to freeze them in sugar syrup. In this post, we walk you through all the different ways to freeze your peaches and enjoy them throughout the year.
How to Select Best Peaches
The best peaches to freeze are ones that are ripe and sweet. Here’s how to pick the perfect peach:
Firm but not so firm peaches
When picking peaches from the store, look for peaches that are firm but give a little when you squeeze them gently. While you might want to consume the peaches when they are soft to touch, it’s better to pick peaches that are still a little firm as they indicate freshly picked peaches.
Tree picked peaches
If you are picking your own peaches, look for peaches that have a higher exposure to sunlight. These will be the peaches that are on the periphery of the tree. These peaches will have fuller color and higher sugar content. Once picked, use the peaches within 24 hours to get the best out of them.
If you are buying your peaches from your local farmer’s market or local grocery store, choose peaches that range from a medium to large size. These peaches are the ones that will have higher sugar content.
The best peaches have a deliciously pleasant aroma. So when you are buying peaches, give them a whiff to check their fragrance as well. Some peaches might tick all the other boxes but have no aroma, meaning they have been artificially ripened and might not taste the best.
Prepare Your Peaches for Freezing
The very first step in freezing peaches is washing them. Place your peaches in a bowl or the clean sink filled with water.
The skin on peaches is very delicate, so you should use your hands to clean them. Using a little bit of cold water, rinse the peaches by rubbing them with your hands to remove the dirt and grime from them.
Dry the peaches using a kitchen towel or lay them on a clean towel to air dry.
Cutting peaches is pretty similar to cutting avocados. Using your paring knife, cut the peach around its center, dividing it into two parts.
Use your hands to hold each half of the peach and then twist it to separate the halves.
With your knife’s blade, gently tap the seed so that it embeds into it. Once it has been embedded, you can easily pull out the pit and discard it.
Once your peach is pit-free, you can go ahead and slice it into your desired size using the knife and cutting board. Slice all of your peaches using the same method.
Soak your peach slices in a lemon water bath for 5 minutes by mixing 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to make the water bath.
Drain the water from the peaches using a colander.
Now, with all your peach slices prepared, you are ready to freeze them. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. The parchment paper will stop your peaches from sticking to the baking tray when you freeze them.
Next, place your peach slices on the baking tray leaving a little space between each piece, so they don’t all freeze stuck together in a clump. You might need multiple trays or do this step in batches to freeze all your peach slices.
When your tray is ready, place it in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours so that your peach slices are well frozen.
Finally, remove the frozen peach slices from the tray and move them to a freezer-grade container for easy storage.
When you fill your freezer-grade containers, fill them so that they are ⅔ full. Label the containers with the date so that you can rotate and use them properly.
Freezing peaches whole is simple. Line your baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the peaches on the parchment paper keeping a little space between them so that the cold air can flow easily between each piece.
When your tray is ready, place the tray in the freezer for at least 6 – 8 hours.
Once your peaches are well frozen, the final step is to remove them from the trays and transfer them to a freezer container for easy storage.
Label the containers with the packing date so that you can use them safely.
The only downside of freezing the peaches whole is that you cannot remove the pits before freezing them, making it a little tedious to use the peaches in a smoothie or something similar.
How to Peel Peaches Before Freezing Them
You can freeze your peaches with or without the skin. In both the methods above, we have described the approach for freezing peaches with the skin. If you want to peel the peaches before you freeze them, you can follow the steps below:
Bring a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. While your water is coming to a boil, cut a small “X” into the bottom of all your peaches, this will make the peeling process more simple.
Once your water is boiling, add in your peaches carefully and let them blanch in the water for 2-3 minutes. Once done, transfer the peaches to an ice water bath so that they cool quickly.
When they have cooled to a point where you can handle them, peel them by pulling the skin from the bottom to the stem of the peach.
Now that you have your peaches peeled, you can go ahead and freeze them using any of the methods we have covered above.
How to Freeze Peaches in Syrup
While ripe peaches are already sweet, you can also freeze in syrup if you want a little extra sweetness. Usually, heavier syrups are used with really citrusy fruit. Since peaches are already quite sweet, you can use a light syrup to freeze them.
Make the syrup:
Mix 1 cup sugar with 4 cups of water in a pot and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Bring this mixture to a boil on the stovetop.
Once the sugar has dissolved completely, take the pot off the heat and skim off any foam that may have gathered.
Leave the syrup on the countertop for it to cool down to room temperature.
Freeze Peaches in Syrup:
Add in your peaches to pint-sized or quart-sized freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace for pints and 1-inch headspace for quarts.
For every 2 cups of peaches, add ½ cup of syrup to the jars.
Use a debubbler to remove any air that might be trapped. Move the debubbler to gently shift the peaches so that the peaches settle in tightly.
When the peaches are all packed, wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth if you are using freezer jars or according to the packing instructions of your freezer bags.
Place the freezer container in the freezer loosely so that the cold air can move around freely and freeze the peaches faster.
Once the peaches are well frozen, you can store them closer together.
How to Use Frozen Peaches
Frozen peaches can be used in a variety of different ways. You can use the frozen peaches when you want to bake a pie, a cake, or any other dessert. You can also use them in smoothies and jams as well! The best thing about using frozen peaches is that you can use them in any recipes that you want without being limited by the minor peach season!
If you plan on using frozen peaches to make smoothies, you can chuck them directly into the mixer. However, if you plan to use them for baking, you want to thaw the peaches to get them to room temperature before use. You can thaw the frozen peaches by placing them in the refrigerator for 6 – 8 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I freeze fresh peaches without them turning brown?
The browning of peaches occurs due to polyphenol oxidases (PPOs) present in peaches. When you cut into a peach, these enzymes are exposed to air, and the peach turns brown as they oxidize. You can use lemon juice or even citric acid to slow down this oxidizing process.
How long do frozen peaches last?
Frozen peaches are good for at least 12 months in the freezer. The peaches can last beyond the 12 months as well; the amount of air you can squeeze out from your containers determines how long your peaches will last – the lesser the amount of air inside, the better.
There you have it! A number of ways for you to freeze and enjoy your peaches all year round. We are sure you will be enjoying these peaches for a long time! If you liked this post, you might also like some of our other freezing guides.
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