We all love fruit, but unfortunately it doesn't keep forever, so freezing fruit makes our favorite treats last longer. Freezing peaches is a great way to preserve their fresh, juicy taste to enjoy year-round. You can defrost peach halves and sprinkle with cinnamon to serve over vanilla ice cream. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination! Here's how to freeze fresh peaches.
For every ten pounds of peaches, you'll get about four to five pints worth for freezing. You can freeze them in a few different ways, but the preparation for all is the same.
- Choose ripe, ready-to-eat peaches -- not too firm, and not too soft or mushy. Handle them with care to avoid bruising the tender fruit.
- Wash your peaches in very cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels. Peel and cut them in half.
- Remove the pits gently, especially if you want to freeze the peaches in halves. For best results, purchase freestone peaches (also called cling-free peaches), as their pits come out rather easily.
- Slice the peaches if desired.
Now you're ready to decide what to freeze your peaches in. The fruit will retain its color and flavor best if packed in sugar or a sugar-based syrup, or you can use a sugar substitute like Equal or Splenda if desired. If you'd rather not add any sweetness to your peaches, pack them in fruit juice or water.
To freeze peaches in sugar:
- For each quart of halved or sliced peaches, combine 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid (to prevent darkening) with 1/4 cup cold water. Sprinkle over peaches.
- Add 2/3 cup white sugar for each quart of prepared peaches. Mix well but gently.
- Spoon peaches into containers, leaving about 1/2 inch head space; seal containers and freeze.
To freeze peaches in syrup:
- Make your syrup by combining one part sugar with two parts water; heat in a pot over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to chill until cold before adding the peaches.
- Place about 1/2 cup of the syrup into a pint container. Add peaches, leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top. Add more syrup to cover them.
- Place a piece of balled-up wax paper on top of the fruit before putting the lid on your container. This will prevent the peaches from floating up to the top, above the syrup.
- Seal containers and freeze.
To freeze peaches in fruit juice or water:
- Peach, apple, or white grape juice are the best choices for juices to freeze peaches in. Combine 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart of fruit juice or water.
- Spoon peaches into containers. Pour juice or water over fruit to cover, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
- Seal containers and freeze.
To freeze crushed or pureed peaches:
- Prepare peaches as above, except that you can boil them for a minute and then place in cold water to loosen the peels before removing them.
- Crush peaches with a fork or potato masher, or use a food processor or blender to puree the fruit, adding a little bit of cold water if needed.
- Add one cup of sugar for each quart of prepared peaches. To prevent darkening, add 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid per quart as well.
- Pack peaches into containers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal containers and freeze.
You no longer have to have fresh peaches for your favorite dish--these instructions will keep your frozen peaches tasting like they are right from the tree. Now that you know these facts about how to freeze peaches, you can also prepare nectarines, apricots, and plums using these same methods. Or try combining them for a frozen fruit mix, ready to put into the blender with a little frozen yogurt!