Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Peachy -- Ways to preserve summer



My husband is in Romney, W.Va., for work today and he's going to buy some peaches and, I hope, Incredible sweet corn from Spring Valley Farm & Orchard on U.S. 50. We will eat some of the peaches fresh and I'll freeze the rest to enjoy all winter.

Last year we froze some and I canned some and I much prefer the quality of frozen. The canned-in-jars peaches tasted fine but they turned unappetizingly brown during processing. I won't do that again.


Here the peaches looked beautiful before processing.

But the freezing method worked best for me. Here's how to do it:

Blanch peaches in boiling water. Place in ice water and slip off the skins.



Cut each peach in half and remove pit. Pack in freezer bags leaving about an inch of headspace. Pour a light simple syrup over the peaches. Press out air and seal the bag. I have a Reynolds Handi-Vac handheld food vacuum sealer, which I used to remove even more air. You have to have special freezer bags for this.



LIGHT SIMPLE SYRUP FOR PACKING PEACHES FOR FREEZING
2 cups sugar
6 cups water
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid, brand-name Fruit Fresh


Heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in ascorbic acid (prevents the fruit from darkening). Spoon over peaches packed in freezer bags. Consider using a half cup of syrup for each pint container.



For the corn, I shucked and blanched the ears. I cut the kernels off the cobs by standing them in the center hole of a bundt or tube pan. The pan catches the kernels as you slice them. The kernels get packed as-is in bags, which are sealed and the air removed.

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