I'll be honest. My experience in "blanching" was limited to Blanche on The Golden Girls. But after a little bit of research, I realized blanching fresh peaches was not just a new kitchen skill, but a great way to enjoy fresh peaches all year round.
Let's Peel Peaches!
Fresh peaches don't last much more than a week. So canning or freezing peaches is the way to keep that farmer's market trip feeling well into the winter. To use in any sort of future peach recipes, you'll want to peel the peaches first. And blanching peaches in boiling water is the easiest way to get that skin off. Much like Blanche on The Golden Girls, peach skins will come off in boiling water as easily as Blanche's clothes did on our favorite sassy roommate's sitcom.
Start by boiling water. Use a large pot of water that will hold all the peaches. If you don't have a large enough pot, just work in batches. While the water is boiling, score the bottom of the peach by making a small x using a sharp knife. Don't cut too deep. While you're waiting for the water to boil, prepare a large bowl of ice water for the ice water bath.
Once the water has come to a boil, place peaches into the water, making sure there's enough water to cover them all the way. Leave them in the boiling water between 40 seconds to a minute. Total time will depend on ripeness. Ripe peaches need less time.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches one by one and place them into the ice water. Let them cool for a minute. Drain them and pat dry. Slice and remove the stonefruit's pit. Peel the loosened skin off with your fingers or with a small paring knife. You can use the peeled peaches right away for a peach pie or peach cobbler.
How To Begin Canning Peaches
While it may seem like extra work, it's necessary to blanch peaches for canning and freezing. Blanching makes peach flesh more firm, intensifies the peachy flavor, and helps loosen the skin for peeling.
*Remember to coat your peaches with lemon juice or an ascorbic acid color keeper (vitamin c crystals and sugar) to keep that yucky brown color from happening.
How To Make Syrup
Depending on how much sugar you want to use, syrup recipes for storing varies. If your peaches are already sweet or you're watching your sugar intake, make a very light syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar into 4 cups hot water. Slowly bring to a boil to make your syrup. For sweeter or heavier syrups, increase the sugar and keep the water the same.
To make a light syrup, dissolve 1?..." cups sugar with 4 cups water to yield 4¼ cups syrup. To make a medium syrup, it's just 2?..." cups sugar and 4 cups water to yield 4?..." cups syrup. Or throw caution to the wind like Blanche Deveraux and make a heavy syrup with equal parts sugar and water.
You can skip the canning jars and simply freeze peaches in good quality freezer bags. You'll have them handy to put on ice cream or in smoothies whenever the mood strikes. The taste of your own fresh peaches will have made the cooking process all worth it. Turn on some Golden Girls and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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