What to Do with all those Wonderful, Juicy Peaches you Picked
I don’t think there’s anything that screams summer more than a round, ripe, juicy, sweet peach. You know, one that’s so ripe the juice just drips down your fingers and chin as you eat it? You end up looking like a sticky 5-year-old, but you’ve got a great big grin on your face because it was just SOOO good!
Welcome to the fourth installment of my Abundant Harvest series. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be adding more posts on how to preserve and use the different crops you may have grown (or bought!) this summer season. You can find the first three installments here: Okonomiyaki with Garlic Scapes, Egyptian Walking Onions, and Use up that Zucchini! If you’d like to be notified of future posts, plus get access to my FREE Resource Library, you can sign up here. I’ve also started a private Facebook group just for my readers with daily topics of interest, friendly people, special goodies and fun. Interested in joining? You can do that here!
For many in the US, peach season is just getting underway or is in full swing, so I thought I’d give you some ideas of what to do with the bounty, whether you’ve grown them yourself or purchased them at a farm stand or farmer’s market.
Let’s get started with the easiest way to use them up…..
Eat your Peaches!
So simple. Pick one up and chow down.
But what if they’re not ripe? Don’t put them in the fridge. That’ll slooooooow down the ripening process and you’ll wait a really long time.
The tried and true way to ripen your peaches is to put them in a paper bag. Close the bag and place it on your counter out of the sun for 24 hours, then be sure to check them. If they’re slightly soft to the touch and smell “peachy”, they’re ready.
Do you know why this works? Peaches give off ethylene gas when they ripen. Ethylene gas also helps them ripen. When you put them in the bag and close it, you’re trapping more gas close to the peach so it ripens faster. Adding a banana or apple to the bag will hasten the ripening process as they give off a lot of this gas.
What not to do: DON’T try to really hasten things by putting your peaches in a plastic bag. Plastic traps too much moisture and will cause your peaches to rot, not ripen.
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Freezing your Peaches
The very easiest way to preserve your peaches is to freeze them. Once they’ve been frozen, they can be thawed and used in cooking, or eaten just like fresh. They really don’t suffer with freezing. I’ve been freezing peaches for years.
Since I prefer to use my peaches in baking after they’re thawed, I like to remove the skins before freezing. The easiest way to do this is to bring a pot of water to a boil, then place your peaches in the boiling water for about 30-40 seconds.
Dunk them in an ice water bath and the skins should peel right off. You can add a splash of lemon juice to this water to prevent browning as well. A ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part lemon juice is good. I sometimes skip this step and haven’t found it to be much of a problem. They darken a bit, but since they’re going into a pie or cobbler anyway, I don’t really care!
Then slice your peaches into whatever size pieces you’d like, place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them in a single layer until hard. Transfer to a freezer bag, label and place them back in your freezer. Easy peasy!
Note: You can line your cookie sheet with parchment paper before placing the peaches on it for even easier cleanup.
Canning your Peaches
Peaches lend themselves nicely to canning, particularly if you like eating them just as they are or in yogurts and such.
NOTE: Please, please, PLEASE always follow safe, modern canning methods, no matter what produce you’re preserving. Although we all love great-grandma, her canning recipes are NOT necessarily safe. Botulism can result from unsafe canning methods, and since it’s an almost invariably fatal disease, please don’t take any chances!
I’ll definitely be going into more detail on canning in the coming weeks, but suffice to say for now that peaches can safely be water bath canned. It’s better to hot pack them versus raw-packing. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, stay tuned, a canning series is coming soon to the blog!
Any good canning book should be able to give you the step-by-step on canning peaches. I won’t go through it here as it will be too long and detailed and I’d rather save some room for giving you some amazing baking recipes instead.
If you need a good book on canning, I have two for you! It’s a must that you have the Ball canning book first and foremost, as it explains safe canning methods for lots and lots of different foods. I’ve also greatly enjoyed using the second book (Preserving Summer’s Bounty), as it has some fabulous recipes in it. I HIGHLY recommend both of them!
Did you know you can use your dehydrator or oven to dry your peaches?
I’ve never tried this, but this website has a very good tutorial on how to go about drying your peaches for future use. What I really like about this is that they give instructions on how to oven dry, even if your oven doesn’t go below 170 degrees (which mine doesn’t!). I do have a dehydrator, but I know many don’t, so this might be a better option for you.
I definitely think I’ll give this a go this year. I LOVE dried mangos, and imagine dried peaches are similar. YUM!
Delicious Recipes Using Peaches
Let’s get on with some wonderful recipes to use up those peaches.
Peaches in Yogurt
Fresh peaches would be absolutely amazing in fresh, homemade yogurt, don’t you think? Hmmmm….looky here, I have a recipe for homemade raw milk yogurt right here!
Cobblers and Crisps
Note: Know the difference between a cobbler and a crisp? A cobbler is made with a biscuit-type dough, while a crisp is topped with crumbs that usually include oats that get crisp (get it?) in the oven. Curious about what a betty, crumble, slump and lots of other types of baked goods are and how they got their names? Check out this very interesting article from Taste of Home.
How about grilled peach cobbler? You don’t even have to heat up the kitchen for this peachy deliciousness!
If you’d prefer a more traditional recipe, you can find one here.
Here’s a yummy-looking peach crisp recipe for you.
Gluten-free Crisps and Cobblers
Don’t despair, my gluten-free friends! I have some recipes for you too!
This peach cobbler recipe is completely grain-free, so if you’re trying to avoid all grains, here you go! I love her recipes in general, so although I haven’t tried this particular one yet, I would bet it’s good!
If you’d rather a more traditional gluten-free cobbler recipe using GF all-purpose baking flour, you can find that here. Need gluten-free baking flour? I’ve used and love both of the brands below so feel very comfortable recommending them to you.
Peach crisp lends itself nicely to being converted to gluten free as it already typically contains oats. This recipe also uses almonds, so would have a nice nutty crunch. Definitely on my to-try list when peaches come into season!
If you need to be strictly gluten-free and are concerned with contamination issues, don’t forget you should be sure to get gluten-free oats. Although oats themselves don’t contain gluten, so are okay for those like me who can tolerate a tiny amount of gluten, they can be contaminated in the fields when growing, or afterwards during processing. Again, Bob’s Red Mill is a brand I know and trust, and I’ve been buying their gluten-free oats for years.
Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts
Peach ice cream! You do need an ice cream maker for this, but I found the Hamilton Beach model below on Amazon for quite a reasonable price. And it makes 4 quarts at a time! Great for a family picnic (or just eating it all yourself!)
Peaches and Cream Popsicles ~ Yes, please!
Peach Frozen Yogurt ~ Super easy, ready in 5 minutes, no ice cream maker needed. AND, you can use your Homemade Yogurt in this recipe!
Peach Pie Recipes
How about Easy Peach Hand Pies? These look like you did a ton of work to make them, but they only use 5 ingredients and they’re so easy!
Of course, no peach recipe roundup would be complete without a classic Peach Pie. This one, however, has a twist: The addition of heavy cream makes this pie rich and creamy and oh, so good! Ok, maybe not so good for the waistline, but YUM!
Oh, and just in case a dozen recipes weren’t enough for you, here’s a collection of 35 recipes from Taste of Home, and another 55 recipes from Country Living. That should keep you busy and out of trouble for awhile!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and that I didn’t make you too hungry.
Do you have a favorite recipe? Feel free to share it in the comments, or email me at [email protected] and I’ll be glad to add it to the post, if you’d like.
There are some pinnable images below. If you’ve got a favorite Recipes board on Pinterest, please pin for future reference. Otherwise, thank you for reading, smile, and have a crazy organic day!
Posts Related to Preserving & Using Peaches
- Okonomiyaki with Garlic Scapes
- Egyptian Walking Onions
- What to Do with all that Zucchini
- Easy Recipes for Busy Gardeners
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