Freezing food, especially fresh foods, is one of the best ways to preserve it. It’s also one of the easiest, but that being said you’ll rarely get the best results from just tossing the item in the freezer and hoping for the best.
Proper preparation and understanding the variables when it comes to cooking and packing can ensure that your food tastes just as good coming out of the freezer as the day it went in.
How about freezing peaches? what’s the best way to do it, and can you freeze peaches at all?
Yes, you can freeze peaches that are fresh or cooked. Peaches generally do well frozen when peeled, sliced, and packed in syrup or sugar, or else as frozen puree.
Peaches are among the most loved and delectable summer fruits, and it would be a crying shame to let your harvest go to waste especially if you would enjoy them for months to come. Freezing can help you do that, so keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know.
Nutritional Value of Peaches
Peaches are beloved for their juicy, sweet, and delicate taste, but they also happen to be fairly nutritious with a good cross-section of vitamins and minerals. Having a variety of fruits in your diet is always good for you, and peaches definitely fit into that plan.
Looking at the vitamin content of peaches, we see they have a small but varied amount of B vitamins, including B1, B2, a good amount of B3, B5, and B6 along with a little bit of folate.
Vitamin A and beta carotene are present, as well as a nice shot of vitamins C and E, rounded out by a little bit of vitamin K.
The mineral profile is not quite as impressive as the vitamins, but still very respectable, with a good amount of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese along with a little bit of zinc, calcium and iron.
As you already know, peaches are incredibly juicy, and that’s because they’re full of water! In fact, the weight of a peach is nearly 90% water by volume, meaning they are great for keeping hydrated.
How to Freeze Your Peaches for Best Results
Peaches generally freeze fine, but according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, they do best when sliced and packed in syrup, sugar, or frozen as puree.
You can freeze halved or even whole peaches, but you want to make sure they are at the peak of freshness, washed, and peeled first.
Note that you can blanch your peaches if desired as a method of removing the skins, but you don’t have to for good results. Cut your peaches into the desired size- halves or slices work best- and then choose a method below.
1. Packing In Syrup
If you’re going to pack your peaches in syrup, use 40% syrup with a half teaspoon of ascorbic acid per quart to prevent browning.
Chill the syrup, blanch or peel, slice, then add the peaches directly into the container leaving some headspace to accommodate expansion. Top the fruit with water-resistant kitchen paper, then seal up the container and freeze it.
2. Packing in Sugar
For sugar packing, dissolve 2/3 of a cup of sugar for each 1 ⅓ pounds of prepared fruit. Blanch or peel the peaches, slice them, and mix the solution and peaches together thoroughly.
Once again, you’ll want to add ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to prevent bruising and browning of the fruit.
Combine a quarter teaspoon of ascorbic acid in three tablespoons of cold water for each quart of peaches you are freezing, then pour this water over your fruit before adding the sugar.
Same as last time, leave headspace in the container for expansion then seal it up and put it in the freezer.
3. Freezing Them as Puree
Lastly, if you’re going to freeze blended or crushed peaches as puree, add 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid for each quart of puree. Don’t forget to leave room in the container for expansion as before, then seal them up and freeze.
Is Blanching Peaches Necessary for Freezing?
Blanching is the process of immersing produce in boiling water to scald it then dunking it or rinsing it in cold water to halt any cooking that is occurring.
Blanching is an easy way to loosen the skin of produce, including peaches, but is it necessary if you want to freeze them?
No, it isn’t, though it does help improve quality if you want your peaches to last a very long time in freezer storage.
This is because blanching, done right, will expel air from the tissues of the peaches and also halt some enzymatic processes that can contribute to degradation.
So if you want your peaches to really go the distance, blanch away, but you don’t have to if you just want to freeze them for a few months.
Can You Freeze Peaches When Raw?
Yes. Peaches can be frozen raw when fresh, but if you are going to do that you’ll be best off if you cut them in half, at the minimum, and preferably into slices.
As mentioned above, peaches do have a tendency to brown pretty badly even when frozen so you’d be wise to use some ascorbic acid solution on them prior to freezing. Alternately, spritz them with lemon juice for the same effect.
Can You Freeze Peaches When Cooked?
Yes. Cooked peaches, peach pie filling, and more can all be frozen with good success. If the cooked peaches don’t have a lot of sugar added already, consider following the preparation steps above to maintain quality.
How Long Do Peaches Take to Freeze?
If sliced, your peaches will take about 4 hours to freeze in your freezer. For halves or whole peaches, give them anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.
Pureed peaches generally freeze pretty quickly, but larger containers will take longer to freeze solid, so remember that.
How Long Will My Peaches Keep When Frozen?
Your peaches will not last forever in the freezer, but will still taste perfectly fresh and delicious for at least 2 months, and possibly 3.
Will Peaches Get Freezer Burned?
Yes, they can. Peaches, like all foods, can and will get freezer burned when improperly packed or prepared, or when left in the freezer for too long.
What’s the Best Way to Prevent Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn is all but inevitable if you keep your peaches frozen for too long, but it is possible to extend the time they can stay in the freezer before getting freezer burned through careful preparation and adjusting the settings on your freezer, if applicable.
The first and most important factor is minimizing the amount of air that is in the container with your peaches.
Filling up your jars and bags precisely, leaving just enough room for expansion, will mean that there is less air that can get to your fruit, and that will minimize freezer burn.
Also, try to keep the temperature in the freezer as cold as possible. The closer you can get to zero degrees, the longer it will take for freezer burn to set in.
You can also help out by minimizing the ingress of warmer air, so don’t open your freezer routinely and don’t keep it open any longer than necessary.
Normally, you can also reduce the chances of freezer burn by eliminating as much moisture in your food as possible ahead of time, but peaches are so juicy this does not really apply to them.
How Can You Tell When Peaches Are No Longer Good?
If you take your frozen peaches out and start to thaw them only to notice that they are badly discolored, slimy, and don’t really have the same form factor that they did prior to freezing, they are probably no good.
They should still be safe to eat, mind you, but they probably aren’t going to have a good taste or texture.
Can You Refreeze Peaches Safely?
You can refreeze peaches safely assuming they are handled properly, but you really shouldn’t. Re-freezing will lead to the formation of large ice crystals which will seriously degrade the structure of your peaches, badly impacting the texture and taste.
Whether they are fresh or cooked, freeze them once, pull them out use them and then be done with them.
What is the Best Way to Defrost Peaches?
You have several ways to defrost your peaches. The best way, if you have time, it’s simply to place them in your refrigerator and give them several hours to thaw out. After about 3 hours check on them because you’ll want to use them right away once they are thawed.
If you are in a hurry, you can transfer the peaches into a large ziploc freezer bag, if they aren’t in one already, and then place that in a large bowl full of cool, not warm, water.
This will speed up the process while preserving the quality of the peaches and they should be ready to go in an hour, perhaps two.
Lastly, you can resort to the old trusty, defrost setting on your microwave although this rarely defrosts peaches evenly or reliably, and you’ll have to check them frequently to remove ones that thaw before they begin to cook.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.