02 September 2009

On the Freezing of a Peach

Happy September 2!

The other day I was on a mission to get some peaches before the harvest season ended for them. Although I really prefer the more 'tart' taste of apricots, who can resist the idea of peach cobblers and peach pies? So I had to get at least some, right?
Once I had made up my mind to get some peaches and preserve them, the hunt was on to find just how others have approached the whole peach freezing thing besides the normal, traditional way. After all some changes are good and I do like to think 'outside the box' when it comes to streamlining processes.
Could there be another method that was easier and more efficient? Was there a method that was cooler???After a bit of cyber searching, I found my answer--there were at least two other ways to preserve my 'catch'--a 10 pound box of the golden, juicy beauties-besides the traditional one. Yea Internet!!
First let's recap the traditional way because we know it works...or at least 'they' say it does:)
Method 1-Traditional:
In this method one sorts, rinses and peels the peaches (the latter accomplished by using a boiling water dip followed by an ice water plunge to loosen the skin, or just peeling with a knife). Once the peach is peeled it needs to be pitted, have the bruised areas removed and then sliced or halved. Finally you GENTLY toss the peaches with ascorbic acid and sugar; place all into freezer containers, leaving headspace, and freeze.
Links for this method: For more complete directions
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/freeze/peach.html and http://www.pickyourown.org/peachesfreezing.htm
My Comments: As the temperature and humidity level were already maxing out my ‘delicate’ PNW constitution, I decided to skip the boiling water/ice water dips and opted for the knife method finding it no big deal to pull and peel the skin of the peaches off. Now since this is my FIRST experience with peaches (yea I am a peach newbie), it might just be that the type of peaches I used are easier to peel -- but it worked OK for me (OK being defined as no cuts on me or great frustration in dealing with peeling the skin off) .

I did play around a bit with the directions I found on the Net, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for the amount of ascorbic acid to use and adding it first-dry, not mixed with water-finding that the peaches produced more then enough liquidy goodness to mix this powder in well. Also, I opted for the dry sugar option rather then the syrup one as I was intending on using the peaches in recipes that would not need a lot of extra liquid.

Method 2-A Little Bit of the Novel:
Sort and place whole fruit in the freezer. Yep that’s it. OK not really…there’s a more to this method. First you place the peaches in the freezer for about 1 ½ hours to 2 hours, then remove and thaw them slightly and voila--the semi-frozen fruit should peel off fairly easy. After that you just follow the instructions in method 1--you know: pit the fruit, etc!

Link for this method: For more complete directions
Comments: I really liked this method! It seemed to make peeling the skin off easier---more came off in bigger pieces. I just held the semi frozen peaches under cold running water for a few seconds and then started peeling. I did have to use my knife still in a few places, but I might not have thawed it enough. I did try--when I ran into a little trouble, to microwave them for about 12 seconds and then it went easier. Also, the fruit, being a little firmer and delightfully chilly, was much more fun to slice and looked --- cool!! I would definitely use this method again, especially on a warm September day.

Method 3-Novel & Yet Somehow Familiar:
Sort and place in freezer; some say rinse before doing this and others don’t. OK now stick in a freezer container. Yep, that’s it. Well not quite---at eating time remove fruit, thaw slightly (to make the peel come off easier), slice and enjoy! According to those who have tried it, this method results in close to fresh taste…. Now the question of the day is: do you know why this sounds somewhat familiar?
Links for this method: For more complete directions
Comments: I decided to try ONE peach this way…because I am OK with change and with a novel one at that, but my freezer is just too full for a lot of these baseball sized, peachy looking frozen objects. I rinsed the one before freezing; have a thing about pesticides and such, and apparently didn’t dry it off enough before freezing! If you don’t want to become adept at using a crowbar (JK) to remove frozen fruit from your pan, DRY thoroughly please! I am awaiting the final results on how well this method works: I am thinking on a chilly autumn morning with just hint of fog on the mountain…when hot cereal and fruit of the summer sounds really good! So I will let you know!
Summary: I might try and add some spice to the peaches but want to research that first. Also, if you must preserve peaches on a warm, summer day be prepared for the ‘siren call’ of this wonderful, juicy fruit….all those bruised areas (and some of the perfect ones) did NOT make it to the garbage!! YUM!
Disclaimer: as I have said, I am the newbie here. Hence the links for information. If you do try any of the methods or have one of your own feel free to leave a comment. Most of all--be safe, work smartly and HAVE fun! Think of how glad you'll be come winter to enjoy the taste of summer's peaches then!

Yum! Juicy, sweet, summery peaches...

freezer fresh and ready for those autumn and winter desserts (and more)!!
And now -- time to draw up plans for tomorrow's catch (or catches) and maybe just get the sleep I really, really need....yawn.
Some of the peaches ready to be processed in the traditional manner
A peach after being placed in the freezer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours
A totally frozen whole peach---experiment in process. More to be revealed later:)
Peaches in ascorbic acid and raw sugar mixture (yes, I do have a THING about raw sugar)-and honey too! Orange blossom honey:)
Rinsed, peeled, pitted, sliced, tossed in ascorbic acid and sugar peaches relaxing in a freezer bag before making the trip to a cooler place,

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