Peaches are one of my favorite summertime treats! I just bought 2 large boxes at Saturday farmer’s market. I buy what are called seconds for two reasons…they are cheaper, and it helps reduce food waste. If you don’t know what seconds are-they are pieces of produce that aren’t “pretty”. They may have some bruising, bird pecks, a worm hole, or some hail damage. If I am just going to preserve foods to stock my freezer or pantry with I don’t mind what it looks like. I just cut the damaged sections off, and feed them to our chickens aka our garbage disposals! HA! They love kitchen scraps, and it helps make their eggs more nutrient dense, so it’s a win-win kind of situation. With the two boxes I purchased Saturday I was able to get them all cut and into freezer bags in about 2 hours time and it yielded 12 quarts. This is a pretty basic post, but I hope you find the information useful! Here’s how I set up to do this and a few tips:
Set up an assembly line of sorts. Your boxes of fruit, then in one sink put a colander to wash them, and in the other sink a compost bucket. You will also need a cutting board and knife. I sometimes put a few dish towels under my cutting boards to help soak up the juiciness that runs off the board. Then it’s not such a huge cleanup in the end. I begin by washing some of the fruit, cutting it into slices and putting it into a large bowl. Putting the fruit first into a bowl will help you group the tasks involved, and therefore move more quickly through the process. I also leave the skin on for freezing. The only time I remove skin of a peach is for canning-and I blanch them first, which I will talk about in a later post.
Once the bowl is full of washed, sliced fruit, I label quart sized FREEZER zip top bags with the date. Be sure you purchase freezer bags because they are thicker and will help prevent freezer burn. I then scoop the peaches into the zip top freezer bag and gently press most of the air out, zip it up and flatten it gently. I want the contents to all freeze flat because it’s much easier to store these bags in your freezer. These will store nicely in your freezer for 3-6 months.
That’s really are there is to it and you have bits of sunshine in your freezer ready for those cold winter months. I usually make pies or cobblers from these. I also use them for the second ferment of my kombucha-and it is hands down one of my favorite flavors of kombucha! Summer Peach! Consider gathering friends or family in a peach preserving event! You can drink coffee or tea, put on a little music, and have some nice girl time! My husband often helps me as his grandpa helped his grandma in tasks like this one. I remember my grandpa also helping my grandma with many of the food preservation tasks in the kitchen. It’s an old-fashioned habit that I hope my boys carry on with their families. I find it really fun to gather doing a task that is useful and will prepare and nourish your family-while also creating community, laughs, and memories. Some of the best memories I have are making mundane tasks fun because we were doing them together.