Peach is a fruit that tastes like sunshine. Ripened in the heat, they have a mellow floral sweetness that is perfect for pies. And when the summer is coming to an end, why not freeze some peaches for a touch of sun on a cold day?
The only problem with baking and freezing peaches is that you need to remove the skin. This is messy and frustrating — unless you blanch your peaches beforehand. The blanch and shock cooking process loosens the skin for easy peeling!
Ready to enjoy a peach pie without the fuss? Discover how to blanch peaches with this guide.
Why Blanch Peaches?
Have you ever tried peeling a ripe peach? The skin does not want to come away from the flesh without a fight. You’ll be left with either patches of peel remaining, or chunks taken out of your peach. Not to mention the juice all over the place!
Or, you can blanch them before peeling. Blanching is the process of quickly submerging a food in hot liquid, which allows it to partly cook. This helps loosen the skin from the flesh while retaining color and texture.
Blanching is generally followed by shocking. You shock food by taking it from the heat and plunging it into something cold. Shocking stops the cooking process, so your peaches won’t turn to mush before you can peel them.
A Guide To Blanching And Peeling Peaches
The easiest way to prepare peaches for peeling (and freezing) is to blanch them. It’s quick, easy, and fuss-free. Plus, you don’t need a lot of extra equipment. All you need is a pot of boiling water and a bowl full of ice water!
Let’s take a look at just how you blanch peaches.
Step One: Prepare The Water
You need two bowls of water to blanch peaches: one on a constant simmer, and one filled with ice and water. The boiling water will blanch the peaches, while the ice water stops the cooking process.
Fill one pot with enough water to cover the peaches. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, fill another bowl with cold water and ice.
Step Two: Prepare The Peaches
You can use ripe and slightly under-ripe peaches for blanching. Using a sharp knife, score an “X” on the bottom of the peaches. Be careful not to cut into the flesh too much.
When the peaches are blanched, the scored lines will provide an easy starting point for peeling.
Step Three: Blanch The Peaches
Reduce the heat under the boiling water so it’s at a simmer. Gently lower the peaches into the water using a large spoon. Don’t drop them, or boiling water will fly everywhere.
Leave the peaches to blanch in the water for roughly 20 to 60 seconds. Ripe peaches will need around 20 to 40 seconds in the water.
Slightly under-ripe peaches might need closer to 60 seconds. When the scored peel begins to lift, you’ll know the peaches are ready.
Blanch the peaches in batches to save time. You can essentially blanch as many will fit in the pot at once and remain covered by the water.
However, if you’ve never blanched peaches before, you might prefer to start with one. This will help you understand the timings better.
Step Three: Cool The Peaches
Lift each peach out of the water using a slotted spoon. Transfer them immediately to the bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process, ensuring your peaches don’t overcook.
The peaches need to sit in the ice bath until they’ve cooled, which will take roughly one minute. Don’t leave them too long, or they’ll start to go mushy. When they’re cool, remove them from the bath, drain, and pat dry.
Step Four: Peel The Peaches
Starting with the line you scored earlier, use your fingers to pull away the skin. It should come off easily. If it doesn’t the peach probably needed more time blanching.
You should be able to use your fingers to pick away the peel and pull it back. If you’re struggling with your fingers, use a paring knife to scrape the skin away.
Once the skin is removed, you have a blanched and peeled peach! It’s now ready to be sliced or pitted.
Peeled peaches can be eaten on their own. Try serving them with ice cream or Greek yogurt. Alternatively, you can use peeled peaches for baking.
If you don’t want to eat your peeled peaches just yet, try canning them or freezing them.
To freeze blanched peaches, slice them and lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When they’re firm, after roughly four hours, remove them from the baking tray and place them in an airtight container.
Tips And Tricks For Blanching Peaches
Ready to blanch some peaches? Here are a few tips and tricks before you get started.
- Score the bottom of the peach with an “X” before blanching. This will provide you with an easy starting point for peeling. Do this before blanching, when the peaches are easier to handle.
- The best peaches to blanch are ripe. They’ll only need to spend a short time in the boiling water before they’re ready to go. However, you can also blanch nearly ripe peaches. Leave them in the hot water for roughly 60 seconds.
- Prepare both the boiling water and the ice water before you get started. When the peaches are done blanching, you need to quickly dunk them in the ice water.
- If you aren’t quite ready to use the peaches immediately after blanching, slice them and toss in lemon juice. Kept in the fridge, they’ll maintain freshness for a bit longer
Blanching peaches is quick, requires minimal equipment, and allows you to peel the skin with less fuss. If you plan on baking with peaches or freezing peaches, why not try blanching them before you get started?
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re struggling to peel a peach after blanching, it probably needed more time in the hot water. Try using a paring knife to scrape away the skin.
Blanching slows down the enzymes that cause peaches to lose color and flavor, so it’s a useful step if you want your frozen peaches to taste delicious.