After I mentioned that I was freezing my bruised peaches, you all had questions about the process.
And since I like to write about what is helpful to you, I figured a post about peach-freezing might be good.
First thing you need to know:
Peach freezing is pretty darn simple
In fact, that’s true for most fruit.
In most cases, all you have to do is cut up the fruit and then stick it in the freezer.
No need to be scared!
To prep peaches: quarter, pit, peel, and slice
If you want to leave the peach peels on, you certainly can, but I usually just pull mine off.
And of course, I cut out any bad spots. I’m usually working with bruised peaches I bought at a discount, so there are almost always bad spots to work around.
You can make your peach slices as big as you want; think about what you want to eventually use your frozen peaches for, and slice accordingly.
(For instance, if you want to use them in smoothies, make the slices fairly small so that they blend up easily.)
Do not just dump your peach slices into a bag
That’s a very easy way to freeze fruit, but the end result is not very user-friendly.
You’ll have a large and unwieldy chunk of fruit and you’ll have to thaw the whole thing to use even one peach slice.
Freeze peach slices on a baking sheet first, then transfer to a bag
This is an extra step, I know, but it’s worth it!
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line it with a silicone baking liner. This makes it super simple to transfer the frozen fruit to a bag.
(I picked up my liner at Aldi; keep an eye out for them there during the holiday baking season.)
Evenly spread the peaches on the sheet, taking care that they don’t touch each other.
Then put the whole baking sheet into the freezer.
Once the peaches have frozen solid, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. Since they’ll be individually frozen, you can easily remove as many or as few as you need.
Do you need to use an anti-browning product?
If you are making a fruit salad with peaches, then it’s smart to use something to keep them from browning (lemon juice, or a product such as FruitFresh).
The browning isn’t dangerous, but it does look kind of unappealing.
I do not find this to be necessary when I freeze peaches, though, because I slice them and then put them in the freezer right away. Once they’re in the freezer, I don’t have significant problems with browning.
Why do you freeze your own peaches?
First, local summer peaches taste way better than the frozen ones you can buy. I’ve tried a bag or two from the store, and my goodness, they are not nearly as sweet and ripe as the ones I freeze.
Secondly, if you can get your peaches at a good price, home-frozen will be cheaper. I paid $15 for about 25 pounds of bruised peaches.
Even at Walmart prices, $15 would only get me seven pounds of peach slices (and Walmart frozen peaches are really cheap, about $2/pound)
Taking into consideration the weight of the pits and the occasional peach that is too far gone to save, I am still positive I get far more than $15 worth of frozen peaches from my half bushel purchase.
Thirdly, when I buy bruised peaches, I’m saving less-than-perfect fruit from getting thrown out. That makes my heart happy!
How do you find bruised peaches?
If there’s a fruit farm or stand near you, ask if they sell bruised peaches or seconds at a discount.
I get them from a stand near my house; in the summer, whenever I am near the stand, I pop in to see if a box is available. Sometimes I strike out, sometimes I come home with a big box for $15.
How long do home-frozen peaches keep?
That all depends on the type of freezer you have.
In a deep freezer that is not self-defrosting, mine have still been good a year later.
In a freezer that self-defrosts, your peaches are more likely to get freezer burnt. I’d use your past experience as a guide.
Think about how long a bag of frozen strawberries stays fresh-tasting in your self-defrosting freezer, and use that to decide how long you can store your peaches.
As a rule, though, if you want to store food long-term, you should have a freezer that does not self-defrost.
What kind of bag do you store frozen peaches in?
Ziploc-type freezer bags work really well, and sometimes I have saved Costco-sized frozen fruit bags to reuse.
The only downside to this is that sometimes I have grabbed a bag from the freezer thinking it was strawberries, and it was actually home-frozen peaches!
Whatever bag you use needs to be thick and tough (frozen peach slices are very hard and sometimes sharp enough to pierce a flimsy bag) and it needs to be tightly sealed to keep the air out, since air is the enemy of frozen foods.
What can you use frozen peaches for?
My favorite use is in smoothies; the combo of a banana, vanilla yogurt, and frozen summer peaches is so good! It’s almost like a milkshake.
You can also use them to make peach cobbler, and I like to thaw a few to stir into my winter oatmeal, along with some heavy cream (peaches and cream are always a winning combo!)
Frozen peaches work great in this fruity overnight baked oatmeal recipe as well.
You could try using them in a baking recipe (such as muffins) but just be aware that thawed peaches will be a little wetter than fresh peaches and you might want to thaw and drain before using.
Any other peach-freezing questions?
Let me know in the comments. And feel free to share any fruit-freezing tips you have as well.