Freezing Peaches

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It takes about 5 good sizes peaches or nectarines (or about 10 plums) to make one quart of frozen peaches.

Choose ripe, mature fruit. They should not be mushy, but they also should not be rock hard: just as ripe as you would eat them fresh. Green, unripe peaches will soften but will not ripen, nor have the flavor of tree-ripe peaches.
Directions
1. Peaches must be packed in a solution of water and sugar or fruit juice.  It's up to you which to use.  Sugar is added to improve flavor, help stabilize color, and retain the shape of the fruit. You only need enough solution to cover the peaches; about 1 cup per quart. It is not added as a preservative; but the solution does prevent drying, freezer burn and oxidation (browning). Peach, white grape or apple juice works great and is a natural alternative to using processed sugar!

Can I freeze peaches dry without any sweetener?

A. Yes. You might get some freezer burn, so you might want to add a little juice (peach or white grape) to fill the air spaces.  Or pack them dry using a vacuum food sealer which would eliminate the need to add juice and still avoid most freezer burn.


2.
Sugar Syrups
 
Type of Syrup Sugar Water Yield
Fruit juice (peach, apple or white grape) 0 0 4 cups
Splenda (2 cups) 0 6 cups 6 cups
Light sugar 2 cups 6 cups 7 cups
Medium sugar 3 cups 6 cups 7.2 cups
Heavy sugar 4 cups 6 cups 7.4 cups

Syrup Pack

Sugar syrup is used in various types, depending upon the amount of sugar they contain. Sugar content in the syrup will depend on the tartness of the fruit and your taste.

About 1/2 to 2/3 cups of syrup is needed for each pint of peaches. Fruits packed in syrup are generally more satisfactory for uncooked desserts, fruit cocktail and sauces.

More than 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water makes most fruit too sweet. Less than 1 cup sugar to 1 quart of water is seldom satisfactory. Use sugar and water in the following proportions for the various types of syrup:

  sugar
(cups)
water
(cups)
yield
(cups)
30 percent syrup
35 percent syrup

40 percent syrup
50 percent syrup
60 percent syrup
2
2 1/2
3
4 3/4

7
4
4
4
4
4
5
5 1/2
5 1/2
6 1/2
7 3/4
3. Fruit juice syrup requires no preparation. To prepare sugar and Splenda syrups, while heating the water in a pot on the stove (or microwave), add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Once it is dissolved remove it from the heat.
(Either add the sugar to cold water and stir until it is completely dissolved, or heat the syrup to dissolve the sugar.) Do not boil.

After preparing the liquid syrup, let it cool before mixing it with the peaches!
Chill the hot syrup thoroughly before using or keep syrup refrigerated until used.
4. Wash the peaches in plain cold or lukewarm water.

TO REMOVE SKIN:
dip the fruit in boiling water for 20 to 45 seconds.

Remove from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water and ice for several minutes.  The skins will easily slide off.

Cut out any brown spots and mushy areas. Cut the peaches in half, or quarters or slices, as you prefer.   Remove pits.
5. Peaches will turn brown when exposed to air, even air in a sealed, sterile jar. To keep the fruit from turning brown, when you get a bowlful, sprinkle 1/4 cup lemon juice or Fruit-Fresh (which is just a mix of citric acid and vitamin C, perfectly natural).  Then stir the peaches to make sure all the surfaces have been coated.
6.

Preventing Discoloration

Add an antioxidant to peaches to prevent darkening. Use one of the pretreatment methods listed below. The most common color protectors are ascorbic acid, commercial antioxidants, and lemon juice. Speed in preparing peaches for freezing and fast freezing will also reduce the amount of discoloration.

Lemon juice: Slice peaches into a solution of 1 tablespoon lemon juice per quart of water.

Ascorbic acid: For syrup pack: Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to each quart of syrup. For sugar pack: Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to each quart of fruit. (Note: 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid equals 1,500 milligrams in tablet form.)

Commercial antioxidant: These are a combination of ascorbic and citric acid and sugar. Two brands available locally are Fruit Fresh and Ever-Fresh. Follow the manufacturers' instructions.

7. In a large bowl, combine the peaches and sweetener solution. Mix completely.

Ladle the peaches and solution into the freezer bags.
If you are using ziploc bags, squeeze out any air bubbles and seal them. put them in the freezer on the coldest shelf.  Since peaches, nectarines, plums, figs, and other soft fruit will be covered in a liquid, it is quite easy to remove all the air with a ziploc bag!  Be sure to use the "freezer ziplocs", not the regular ones.  The freezer ones are thicker and will be much less like to break, split or allow freezer burn. TIP:  If you don't own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out.  To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.
8. If you are using a vacuum food sealer, stand the bags upright on the shelves on the door of your freezer (so they don't spill) and allow them to freeze overnight (vacuum food sealers require liquids to be frozen first, or they would be sucked into the pump!)

The next day, take the bags out of the freezer, seal them and put them back in the freezer! 

If any of the frozen peaches are exposed on the surface, just pour a little more sugar syrup (or fruit juice, etc.) to cover them and put it back in the freezer.  When that freezes, you can seal them.


9. When cooking frozen peaches, keep in mind how much sugar was added before the fruit was frozen.

Defrost frozen peaches in the refrigerator, or under cold running water. One pint of fruit packed in syrup will thaw in 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator , and in 1/2 to 1 hour under running water.

Peaches darken and lose flavor rapidly once they are thawed.

Thawed and refrozen peaches will suffer a loss in quality.

You may safely refreeze partially thawed peaches if they have been defrosted in the refrigerator and are cold to the touch and contain ice crystals.

 
Notes:
To use the frozen peaches, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours.  I wouldn't recommend the microwave unless you are planning to cook with them.
They are best when eaten with little icy crystals still there.

Dry Sugar Pack

Add 1 part sugar (by weight) to 4 or 5 parts fruit (by weight) to sweeten the peaches and protect their quality. The amount of sugar needed will vary with the tartness of the fruit and your taste.

Cut the peaches into a shallow bowl. Mix the sugar and peaches gently with a large spoon until the juice is drawn and the sugar is dissolved.

Unsweetened Pack

Unsweetened peaches can be used in pies, for jams and preserves, and other cooked dishes.

Slice or crush the peaches in their own juice, Be aware that changes in color, flavor and texture occur more rapidly in an unsweetened pack than in fruits packed with sugar or syrup.

Storage

The length of time peaches can be stored depends on the care with which the peaches were handled before freezing, the quality of the packaging materials, and the temperature of your freezer ( 00 F or below). Syrup and sugar packed fruits can be frozen at 00 F for 8 to 12 months; unsweetened fruits, 3 to 6 months. At higher freezer temperatures, the storage time should be reduced.






Doris Clark

Member since Jun 2007

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