How to Select Fresh Peaches
Look for peaches that are intensely fragrant and yield to light pressure at their stem ends.
- Tree-ripened peaches, available locally at farmer's markets and orchard stands, will leave you with tastier results than commercial-variety peaches that are usually picked before they're ripe.
- Clingstone peaches, so named because their flesh clings to their pits, come into season in mid-June. They tend to be juicier and sweeter than freestone peaches but are less convenient to slice.
- Freestone peaches are in season from late July through September. They are much easier to pit than clingstone varieties.
How to Freeze Peaches
Step 1: Slit the skin on each peach
Use a sharp knife to make a shallow X on the bottom of each peach.
Step 2: Blanch the peaches
- Bring a large pot of water to boiling.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water.
- Working in batches, carefully lower 3 or 4 peaches into the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds.
Step 3: Quickly cool peaches
Using a slotted spoon, transfer peaches from boiling water to the bowl of ice water.
Step 4: Peel peaches
When the peaches are cool enough to handle, use a knife or your fingers to peel the skin from each peach.
Step 5: Remove peach pits
- Using a sharp knife, cut each peeled peach in half around the pit.
- Gently twist each half to expose the pit.
- Using the knife, pry the pit out of the peach.
Step 6: Slice peaches
If desired, cut each peach half into slices.
Step 7: Prepare peaches for freezing
There are three ways to freeze peaches:
Water Pack: Pack peaches into a pint- or quart-size freezer container or bag, leaving 1/2-inch headspace for pints and 1-inch headspace for quarts. Pour water over the peaches, maintaining the specified headspace.
Sugar Pack: Pack a small layer of peaches into a pint- or quart-size freezer container. Sprinkle lightly with sugar; repeat layering, leaving 1/2-inch headspace for pints and 1-inch headspace for quarts. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes or until juicy before freezing.
Syrup Pack: Prepare desired syrup (see below). Pack peaches into a pint- or quart-size freezer container or bag, leaving 1/2-inch headspace for pints and 1-inch headspace for quarts. Pour syrup over the peaches, maintaining the specified headspace.
To prepare syrup: Place the recommended amounts of sugar and water (see below) in a large saucepan. Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if necessary.
Tip: Allow1/2 to 2/3 cup syrup for each 2 cups peaches.
Very Light Syrup: Use 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water to yield about 4 cups syrup.
Light Syrup: Use 1-2/3 cups sugar and 4 cups water to yield about 4-1/4 cups syrup.
Medium Syrup: Use 2-2/3 cups sugar and 4 cups water to yield about 4-2/3 cups syrup.
Heavy Syrup: Use 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water to yield about 5-3/4 cups syrup.
Step 8: Freeze peaches
- Wipe container rims (if using).
- Seal containers or bags according to manufacturer's directions, pressing out as much air as possible.
- If necessary, use freezer tape around lid for a tight seal.
- Label each container or bag with its contents, amount, and date. Lay bags flat; add bags or containers to freezer in batches to make sure they freeze quickly. Leave space between containers or bags so air can circulate around them.
- When frozen solid, the containers or bags can be placed closer together.
- Use frozen peaches within 8 to 10 months.