There's nothing quite like biting into a juicy, sweet peach during the summer months. The season for fresh peaches is all too short, leaving us craving them all year long. Luckily, if you know how to freeze peaches, you can preserve their sweetness for months to come.
Freezing whole, half, or sliced peaches is an easy process, and you will find they retain their flavor and color well. Just a few simple steps and a couple of tricks are all you need.
While you are freezing your summer bounty, don’t forget about freezing corn. Summer sweet corn is so much better than anything you can find in the winter months and having bags of frozen corn in the freezer makes it easy to make roasted corn, one of my favorite side dishes, all year round.
“I always have frozen peaches in the freezer. Fresh peaches out of season generally have no flavor to them, and I love to bake with peaches to make everything from a traditional peach kuchen to peach scones, peach cobbler, and so much more. I blanch and peel them, then slice them before I freeze them so they're ready for me to use no matter what I choose to make.” — Michelle Price, Honest and Truly
What are the best peaches for freezing?
Start with summer peaches that are ripe and fragrant. Obviously, the better tasting and juicier the peaches are when you freeze them the better they'll make whatever you use them in after they're frozen.
- Peaches from orchards, fruit stands, and farmer’s markets are generally the best because they are picked ripe. Grocery store peaches are picked before they are ripe and many times lack flavor.
- Freestone peaches are easy to pit and peel, which makes them the best alternative for freezing.
- Clingstone peaches are smaller and very sweet but can sometimes be a challenge in getting the pits out.
How to remove the pits from peaches
There are two types of peaches and each has several varieties.
Freestone peaches make it easy to remove the pits because the flesh doesn’t cling to the pit.
- Slice the peach along the natural crease line from the stem all the way around.
- Twist the two halves of the peach apart and the pit should fall out.
Clingstone peaches are trickier because the flesh clings to the pit, but it can be done. The goal is to loosen the pit and here is how to do it.
- Don’t cut the peach where the natural crease is; instead, cut the peach to the side of the crease, starting at the stem and then ending on the other side of the stem.
- Cut all the way around the peach. Gently twist the peach and one side should loosen and come off, leaving the pit attached to the other half.
- Now cut that half again from top to bottom and pull the sections apart from the pit.
How to freeze peaches with the skin on
The skin of peaches contains a lot of nutrients including fiber. So, depending on how you plan to use them, it can be beneficial to freeze peaches with their skin on. It's also much easier to freeze peaches with their skin on! Here's how:
- Wash the peaches in cool water and then place them on a towel to let them dry off.
- You can freeze your peaches whole, slice peaches in half, in wedges or even dice the peaches.
- Lay the whole, sliced or diced peaches on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure the peaches are in a single layer.
- Place the tray in the freezer for four to eight hours or until the peaches are completely frozen. Whole peaches can take up to eight hours to freeze.
- Next, place the frozen peaches in a freezer container or a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before you seal it.
- Then freeze until you are ready to use.
How to freeze peaches with the skin off
If you want to use those frozen peaches to make a peach pie in the middle of winter, it's important to remove the skin before freezing. The easiest way to remove the skin from peaches is to blanch whole peaches, which is an easy cooking process.
- Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Next, place the peaches in the simmering water for 30 seconds.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches and place them in a bowl of ice water.
- Once the peaches have cooled enough to handle, the skins will be easy to peel off.
- You can freeze peaches whole, slice them in half,= or slice or dice skinned peaches.
- Place the prepped peaches on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then freeze for four to eight hours or until fully frozen. Whole peaches can take up to eight hours to freeze.
- Place the frozen peaches in a freezer container or sealed bag with as much air removed as can be and freeze for up to 12 months.
Pro tip! With certain varieties of peaches, I find that the skins peel off easier if I cut an "x" in the bottom of the peel before blanching. If the peels of your peaches aren't sliding off easily after a quick dunk in boiling water, use a pairing knife to cut a small "x" in the bottom of the peach then follow the instructions to blanch them in boiling water and dunk them in ice water. The peel should come off easily.
How to freeze peaches for smoothies and cocktails
I love adding peaches that have been frozen in the peak of summer to my smoothies all year round. You can, of course, just toss in a few slices of frozen peaches, or frozen peaches that have been cut into chunks or just cut in half before freezing.
But one other idea is to quickly puree peeled fresh peaches in a blender or food processor, then pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze it. This makes it easy to pop out a few frozen peach cubes whenever you want to add some frozen peaches to your smoothie.
This also, by the way, is a great trick for adding fresh peach puree to mimosas. If you freeze peach puree in small ice cube trays you can just drop a frozen peach cube straight into glasses of champagne and let it melt in the glass.
I especially love to freeze several kinds of fruit puree in ice cubes when serving mimosas to a group. This allows everyone to choose their own flavor.
FAQs about freezing and defrosting peaches
Make sure you have your peaches in an airtight container or freezer bag with all of the air pressed out. Frozen peaches will last for six to 12 months.
For most recipes, like these peach raspberry bars, you do not need to defrost first. But because peaches are a juicy fruit, a good rule of thumb is to add double the amount of thickener, such as flour, to a recipe. This is especially true when baking a peach pie.
If you are using peaches for drinks like smoothies, you can use them frozen or defrosted. Using the frozen peaches will make your smoothie nice and thick and it will stay cold longer.
Yes, you will find that fresh fruit has a different texture than when it is frozen and thawed. Since this is a stone fruit, it freezes very well, but you will most likely notice that thawed peaches are softer than fresh ones.
The simplest method is to thaw frozen peaches in the refrigerator, which can take six to eight hours. For a quicker method, place the fruit in a sealed plastic bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold water. This method could take 30 minutes to an hour for the fruit to thaw.
Peaches are similar to avocados in that when they are exposed to air, they can brown quickly. Take a tablespoon of lemon juice and toss with the sliced peaches.
“Since I usually make downscaled recipes for just one or two people, freezing fruit allows me to keep it on hand without spoiling. It's also much easier to grab only the amount needed from the freezer.” — Lisa MarcAurele, Little Bit Recipes
Delicious ways to use frozen peaches
Use those frozen peaches and try these peachy recipes to enjoy summer all year long.
Adding frozen peaches to drinks can add flavor and can act as a flavorful ice cube.
Three of my favorite things to make in the middle of winter when we are craving summer fruit are peach pie, peach cobbler, and peach cobbler muffins. Using frozen summer peaches to bake a saucy dessert bursting with fruit flavor makes those short, dark, cold winter days a little easier to bear.
You can also use frozen peaches to make peach preserves. There's just nothing better than homemade peach preserves spread over a flaky buttermilk biscuit!
This is my favorite recipe for making peach preserves without added pectin - BUT, please note that when making preserves with peaches that have been frozen, it might be necessary to add some additional pectin.
Learning to freeze peaches is a great way to preserve this delicious fruit and enjoy it all year ‘round. With the right preparation and storage techniques, frozen peaches can retain their flavor, texture and nutritional value for months.
From smoothies and cobblers to jams and sauces, there are endless recipes to use frozen peaches in your cooking. Whether you have lots of fresh peaches or just want to stock up for the winter, freezing peaches is an easy way to enjoy this sweet summer fruit all year long.
This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life