Truth be told, I hate summer. I’m not a huge fan of humidity and sweat. When you have pulmonary hypertension, it really sucks! But I do love the fresh fruit that is in abundance during the summer. My favorite fruits are strawberries, peaches and grapes. Oh, and watermelon and cantaloupe. Can’t forget mangos, bananas and the blackberries. Almost forgot the blueberries, raspberries and kiwi. Ok, I love all fruit! It is the one food group I don’t have problems eating all the correct portions I’m supposed to. Actually, I probably eat too much of it, lol.
We are fortunate here in Ohio that this magic semi truck full of fruit shows up all year round. During the winter months, it brings citrus fruit that is so incredibly juicy and sweet. The H & S Citrus, Inc. gets full credit for freshly picking, packing and sending the fruit to our area. They are the heroes of the winter fruit blahs. They come to our area two or three times a month. They park their semi in a large parking lot and sell the fruit right out of their trucks! In July, they only deliver peaches. The best, juiciest, like it was just picked off a tree peaches. We always buy two huge boxes of just the peaches. How huge? Well, we used 40 peaches for our Freezer Canned Peaches, 20 peaches reserved for peach jam and then we still have another 25-30 that we just eat right out of the box…so when I say huge, I mean HUGE! The cost is reasonable as well. This year it was around $32 for a huge box. If you live in Indiana or Kentucky, you are in luck! H & S delivers to those states also. Check out their website for exact locations, dates and times they deliver their amazing fruits: http://www.hscitrus.com.
So back to our Freezer Canned Peaches…I love to can. I have in the past made strawberry jam, cling peaches and tomato sauce. Although I have all the necessary equipment to “jar” can peaches, I prefer to freezer can them. Once freezer canned, the peaches are good for 12 months (will be more fresh if used within 6-9 months). When we want fresh peaches in the winter, we take out the frozen concoction and put it in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours. This freezer canned peaches recipe allows the true flavor of the peaches to shine through because the syrup used is considered “light”. It’s nice to know that when you are eating canned peaches that the ingredients are only the peaches, sugar, water and lemon juice; no weird additives or preservatives! I believe all fruit is best when cold so freezer canned peaches automatically have this fantastic chill. It is super easy to make freezer canned peaches however it is time-consuming and labor intensive. It also is better to do it with a buddy. Thankfully, my best-friend was ready and willing to assist 🙂 He also happens to be the most handsome man in the world and I am blessed upon blessed that he is my husband 🙂 So be prepared ~ freezer canning peaches from start to finish takes a couple of hours to do…but when it is freezing cold outside and you have a hankering for fresh fruit, all you will have to do is open your freezer door to find your perfect peaches!
So get out 2 large stock pots, 2 extra-large bowls, a ladle and a canner funnel if you have one. The canner funnel sure makes it easier to get the delicious, juicy peach slices into the Ziploc bags. Oh yeah, you will need quart size freezer Ziplocs & a permanent marker.
So let’s get to it!
12 cups of water (specifically for the syrup)
4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
more water for washing, blanching and ice bathing the peaches
Bring your 12 cups of water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature and pour the syrup into a large bowl with approximately ½ cup of lemon juice.
Bring your second large stock pot full of water to a rapid boil. While waiting for the water to boil, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes (to make ice water).
*Wash 20 of your peaches, I’m guessing you know how to do that but just in case, give them a good rub under cold water and remove any stems still attached.
**Working with 5 peaches at a time, drop them into the boiling water (above). With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches after 45 seconds and place them in the large bowl of ice water (below). After 1-2 minutes, remove a peach from the ice water.
Gently rub the skin and the skin will slide off in big chunks. This blanching method is the best way to remove skin from peaches.
Slice the peach in half and give it a slight twist to release it from the interior seed. Remove the seed and any hard areas that surrounded the seed. Slice peaches into wedges. Cut out any “bad spots” (brown/mushy areas) from the peach. I think of the 60 peaches we blanched, skinned and sliced…we cut maybe 3 bad spots out of peaches. Yes, the peaches from H & S are that good! Place the slices in the bowl with the syrup. Gently stir to ensure all pieces are coated. Repeat the blanching, peeling, slicing and placing the slices in syrup with the other 4 peaches that were left in the ice water.
Repeat all the steps from ** with 15 more peaches, again, only working with 5 peaches at a time.
After you have used 20 peaches, take 6 – 1qt freezer Ziploc bags out and label and date the bags. Open the Ziploc bag completely and hold the canner funnel 1/2 way into the bag. Ladle 3 spoonfuls of the sliced peaches with syrup evenly into each of the 6 bags. You will have plenty of syrup left over to use with the last 20 peaches.
Remove as much air as possible before zipping bags shut. You can zip it almost closed and insert a straw to suck out the remainder of air. Once all air is removed, pinch the straw and quickly remove the straw while zipping the remainder of the bag shut. Lay all the Ziploc bags flat in the freezer.
At this point, you will most likely need to add more water to your boiling water for blanching and more ice to your ice water.
Repeat from * with the remainder 20 peaches working with just 5 peaches at a time. You can see in the pics that I wear gloves when directly handling the peaches. I’m kind of a stickler about germs, it’s the nurse in me and with my PH, I really can’t handle major infections.
Come winter when you are hit hard with the winter blahs, you will be glad to find fresh canned peaches in your freezer 🙂 We will literally have fresh peaches once a week for 3 months straight this coming winter…sounds peachy to me!
Servings: 12 – 1qt bags of canned peaches (which I am guessing equates to 3 or 4 regular-sized cans of cling peaches for each quart).
This recipe was adapted from this website: http://www.pickyourown.org/peachesfreezing.htm
I feel it necessary to mention: Please use common sense with canning. You can avoid spoilage and prevent food poisoning by using clean technique throughout the canning process and freezing your fruits as soon as they are bagged. I have never had a frozen canned bag of peaches “spoil” but use common sense folks; if it looks funny and smells funny when you remove it from the freezer in a few months…don’t eat it! Doh!
As you can see from the pic below, we also chunked up 20 peaches that were blanched and peeled. These peaches were tossed in lemon juice only to prevent browning. They were thrown in the freezer and will be used in a couple of weeks to make Peach Jam. We are super busy and I don’t foresee me having time to properly can peach jam in the next few days. I don’t want the peaches to spoil while waiting on me so I am freezing them now for later. So stay tuned for the Peach Jam recipe!