Directions for Making Frozen Peaches, Plums, Cherries, Nectarines, and Other Similar Soft Fruit
Ingredients and Equipment
- Jar funnel
- At least 1 large pot
- Large spoons and ladles
- Ziploc freezer bags, quart size or a vacuum food sealer and bags for it.
- Sugar (or other sweetener: Splenda, Nutrasweet, or fruit juice)
Recipe and Directions
Step 1 - Selecting the peaches, plums, cherries or nectarines
You need peaches that are sweet, and freestone. This means that the peach separates easily from the pit. Same with nectarines, this doesn’t apply to plums. Choose ripe, mature fruit. They should not be mushy, but they also should not be rock hard: just as ripe as you would eat them fresh.
Step 2 - How many peaches
It takes about 5 good sizes peaches or nectarines (or about 10 plums) to make one quart of frozen peaches.
Step 3 - Prepare the sugar (or other sweetener) solution
Peaches must be packed in a solution of water and sugar or fruit juice. It’s up to you which to use. Sugar is added to improve flavor, help stabilize color, and retain the shape of the fruit. You only need enough solution to cover the peaches; about 1 cup per quart. It is not added as a preservative; but the solution does prevent drying, freezer burn and oxidation (browning). Peach, white grape or apple juice works great and is a natural alternative to using processed sugar!
|Type of Syrup ||Sugar ||Water ||Yield |
|Fruit Juice (Peach, apple or white grape) ||0 ||0 ||4 cups |
|Splenda (2 cups) ||0 ||0 ||6 cups |
|Light Sugar ||2 cups ||6 cups ||7 cups |
|Medium Sugar ||3 cups ||6 cups ||6 ½ cups |
|Heavy Sugar ||4 cups ||6 cups ||7 cups |
Fruit juice syrup requires no preparation. To prepare sugar and Splenda syrups, while heating the water in a pot on the stove (or microwave), add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Once it is dissolved remove it from the heat. After preparing the liquid syrup, let it cool before mixing it with the peaches!
Step 4 -Wash the peaches
Step 5 - Peeling the Peaches
Dip the fruit in boiling water for 20 to 45 seconds. Remove from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water and ice for several minutes
Step 6 - Cut up the peaches
Cut out any brown spots and mushy areas. Cut the peaches in half, or quarters or slices, as you prefer. Remove pits.
Step 7 - Prevent the fruit from darkening
Peaches will turn brown when exposed to air, even air in a sealed, sterile jar. To keep the fruit from turning brown, when you get a bowlful, sprinkle 1/4 cup lemon juice or Fruit-Fresh (which is just citric acid, vitamin C, perfectly natural). Then stir the peaches to make sure all the surfaces have been coated
Step 8 - Mix the peaches with the sweetener solution
In a large bowl, combine the peaches and sweetener solution. Mix completely
Step 9 - Fill the bags and exclude air pockets
Ladle the peaches and solution into the freezer bags.
A. Ziploc Bags - If you are using ziploc bags, squeeze out any air bubbles and seal them. put them in the freezer on the coldest shelf. Since peaches, nectarines, plums, figs, and other soft fruit will be covered in a liquid, it is quite easy to remove all the air with a ziploc bag! Be sure to use the “freezer ziplocs”, not the regular ones. The freezer ones are thicker and will be much less like to break, split or allow freezer burn. TIP: If you don’t a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out. To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.
B. Vacuum Food Sealer - If you are using a vacuum food sealer, stand the bags upright on the shelves on the door of your freezer (so they don’t spill) and allow them to freeze overnight (vacuum food sealers require liquids to be frozen first, or they would be sucked into the pump!) The next day, take the bags out of the freezer, seal them and pop them back in the freezer! If any of the frozen peaches are exposed on the surface, just pour a little more sugar syrup (or fruit juice, etc.) to cover them and put it back in the freezer. When that freezes, you can seal them.
- To use them, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t recommend the microwave unless you are planning to cook with them!
- Allow about 1/2 inch of head space. Do not use glass because the expansion in the freezer will break the glass.
- If fruit is not covered by liquid it may darken or get freezer burn during storage . To avoid this, remove all air bubbles and while the bags are freezing, stand them so that the fruit is entirely covered by liquid.