Handling Tips

Storing Peaches

To ripen fresh peaches, put them in a paper bag that has a few holes in it. Once the fruit is ripe you can keep it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a couple of days.

 

Freezing

  • Peach halves or slices packed with sugar or in sweetened syrup remain plumper and firmer than peaches packed without sugar.
  • Use a medium or light syrup to preserve the fresh fruit taste.
  • Frozen peaches make excellent pies or cobblers. When preparing peach pie filling, be sure to account for the sugar added to peaches before freezing. Frozen peaches used raw in fruit salad or compotes are best served with a few ice crystals still remaining. If completely thawed, they will become mushy.
  • Puree peaches, add a dash of lemon juice, sweeten to taste and freeze in small quantities to be used as toppings for ice cream, yogurt, pancakes or waffles.
  • Peaches can be stored in the freezer at 0ºF for eight to twelve months.
  • One bushel (48 pounds) of peaches yields 32 to 48 pints for freezing.

 

Canning

  • Use high-quality, firm-ripe peaches without any mold or signs of decay for canning.
  • For a safe home-canned product, peaches must be processed in a boiling-water bath.
  • Open kettle canning is not safe for any product and is not recommended.
  • Hot packing is recommended for all fruits because it is safer and makes fruit easier to pack in jars. Hot packed peaches are less likely to float than peaches canned by the raw-pack method.
  • It is safe to can peaches without sugar either in juice or water. Peaches canned in light or medium syrup are firmer and have better color and flavor, however.
  • Artificial sweeteners tend to turn bitter from the heat used in canning. If you are watching calories, it's better to can peaches in water or juice, and add artificial sweetener before serving.

 

Drying

  • The quality of dried peaches is excellent.
  • For drying, select firm-ripe peaches that are heavy for their size.
  • Before drying, peaches are usually peeled and halved or quartered. The pit should be removed.
  • Peaches require an anti-darkening treatment before drying to prevent browning.
  • Dried peaches, slightly plumped, can be used in quick breads, chutney, cobblers, cookies, granola and pies.