Years ago when I lived in Paris, I remember seeing an ad campaign for local produce. The campaign ran every summer, with billboards on street corners and posters on subway walls. “Eat it now or wait another year!” the slogan urged, with fanciful drawings of mouth-watering fruit.
Not wanting to wait until next year, I found an orchard near my parents’ house and rounded up the family — grandparents, 3 kiddos and all — to go picking early Sunday morning. We fought the heat and humidity on what was billed as the hottest day of the year and picked 4 pecks of peaches and 2 pecks of apples.
At home, I promptly took them out of the bags and laid them on the counter, removing ones that had bruised in transit (they’d go bad faster and cause others near them to spoil). Then we dug in, eating peaches with cereal, peaches with yogurt and granola, and peaches as snacks. I’ve also made peach pie and a peach upside-down cake (recipes to come later), with peach cobbler and peach-blueberry pie planned for the next two nights. Even so, we were hardly making a dent. My dad was sure they’d stay there until they went bad–after all, there were so many. But this afternoon, in about an hour, I added eight bags of peaches to the freezer. Peaches are my mom’s favorite fruit, so when she wants peach pie or cobbler this winter, she’ll be able to grab a bag of local peaches and enjoy a taste of summer.
For an illustrated version of these instructions, click on Freezing Peaches 101, or just read below.
How to Freeze Peaches
Wash peaches, scoring the bottom of each peach (not the stem end) with an X. Then slip them into boiling water for 10-20 seconds. When you can see the skin starting to flap, put them in an ice bath and add the next batch to the pot. Take eight to ten peaches at a time — enough for a pie or cobbler — and slip the skins off, slice them, and add a squirt of lemon juice. Scoop them into a Ziploc bag, squeeze out the air, drop the bag into a second Ziploc, and scribble the date. Last step: put them in the freezer and wait for winter.
Caption: Rob Stribling of Stribling Orchard in Markham, Virginia. Mr. Stribling’s family has been growing fruit on this land since 1819.