Friday, August 28, 2009

Millions of peaches, peaches for me . . .

. . . Millions of peaches, peaches for free.

This is one of the great things about living in the fruit belt -- the fruit. Our friends Dave and Laura own a farm and they brought us a BOX of peaches. Well obviously we couldn't eat them all before they would go bad so we had to find a way to preserve their golden deliciousness.

I first thought about canning them. I'd bought Mason jars months ago with the hopes of making my own strawberry jam but that didn't happen. Canned peaches or peach jam sounded like a good idea. But apparently the peaches lose their brightness and flavour when cooked so that was a no go.

Enter Alton Brown with his suggestion: Freeze them.

By surrounding the peaches in their own juices, you create a protective layer that prevents freezer burn and the formation of large ice crystals. Perfect.

Freezing peaches
  1. Bring a LARGE pot of water to a boil. Have an ice bath standing by in another LARGE bowl.
  2. Crush two tablets of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, 500 mg) and dissolve in 2-3 tbsp water.
  3. Drop in 2 lbs of peaches (approx. 5-6, pre-disassembled) into the boiling water and blanche for 30 seconds.
  4. Immediately transfer the peaches to the ice bath, submersing each peach.
  5. Wipe the skin off with a paper towel (yes, it's that easy).
  6. Remove the pit and cut up the peaches. I did half of the batches into 1 inch cubes and the other half into thin wedges.
  7. Move peach pieces to a third bowl and coat with ascorbic acid.
  8. Add 1/2-3/4 cup sugar, mix thoroughly and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a labelled freezer zip top bag. Remove all the air (I like to do this using a straw), seal.
  10. Freeze flat.
  11. To use, let thaw in refrigerator and use as you would "peaches in syrup" from a can.
Next weekend I plan on using some of my preserved peaches in a peach upside down cake recipe. Expect a post to follow.

Original Source: Good Eats - Peachy Keen

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