Peachy keen : Freezing Peaches

The peaches were so good this year so we decided to try to save some to extend the goodness throughout the winter. Peach-pie in January anyone? Yes please! So I set out to freezing a basket of them and got some photos of the process.

There’s also a tip for getting the most juice from a lemon at the bottom!

1. Select peaches that are ripe at the perfect-to-eat-now stage. Wash them well
2. Cut a shallow X on the bottom of each peach
3. Dunk peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds. This step is so that the peel will come off easily. (I used my pasta pot with strainer insert to do this. Note that the peaches take up volume in the water, so don’t fill your pot with too much water. Half way full will do. I dunked then lifted and repeated this a few times to make sure all the peaches got a good bath in the boiling water. Alternatively you can used a slotted spoon or ladle and do a few peaches at a time.)
4. Immediately cool the peaches in ice water. You don’t want to cook them, so the ice-water stops this from happening. (It doesn’t matter how long they stay in the ice-water so if you’re doing a few at a time, just drop them in as you go along.)
5. Peel the peaches. Notice how that X you cut into the skin makes this job a breeze. Watch out though … those skinless peaches are slippery!
6. Remove the pit by cutting in half and gently prying apart both sides. (To cut the peaches, I found that just sliding my knife downward and under on both sides of the pit should do the trick, rather than turning the peach as you would normally. Like I said they are so slippery that turning them, with a knife so close to you fingers could be risky.)
7. Slice each half into six to 8 lengthwise pieces (depending on the size of your peaches)
8. Toss with freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (see lemon juicing tip below). This step stops the fruit from going brown.
9. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and using a slotted spoon, arrange peach slices in a single layer. They will be touching each other a bit but that’s ok. Using the slotted spoon means less juice, which would result in them sticking together when frozen.
10.Freeze. It takes about 4 hours, or overnight.
11.Remove from cookie trays and break apart into freezer bags (or containers).
12.Label and return to freezer until ready to use. Just take out what you need, when you want them.

Uses: For smoothies, add the frozen fruit directly to your blender with your other ingredients. Would also be nice in a salsa/chutney. For desert, thaw and add some sort of sweetener. They will get juicy as they thaw and you can just add sugar to the juice. Lovely as a peach shortbread with white cake/biscuit and whipped cream. Or, like I mentioned earlier, make a peach pie. Or as in my case, get your sweetie to make you one!

All in all, getting a whole basket of peaches ready for the freezer took me no more than an hour. And it was really fun to do!

Tip for Juicing a Lemon: Fresh lemons are getting pretty expensive but the juice is just worlds apart better than buying bottled lemon juice. So here’s a tip for getting as much juice from each lemon as possible. Wash lemon, and then roll in on a cutting board. What you’re doing is breaking apart the membranes that enclose the pieces of pulp so apply a bit of pressure. Your lemon will feel soft after you’re done. Juice with a juicer if you need a lot, or cut out a wedge if you need a little. Or if you only need a few drops, poke a hole into the lemon with a skewer and squeeze out what you need. You can re-seal your hole by sticking a toothpick in. Store unused portions in the fridge.