Every August I look forward to freezing bags of golden goodness. Today I processed 25 pounds of Red Jim nectarines and 35 pounds of tree ripened Palisade peaches totalling 29 quart Ziploc bags. The fragrance of the ripe fruit was sweet and fresh, making my mouth water! First I gathered my supplies and made a functional work area on the kitchen counter. Next I blanched small batches of fruit in boiling water for about 1 minute. After letting each batch slightly cool I removed the skins and cut thin slices into a large bowl of water, sugar or honey, and fruit fresh. As the slices sit in the bowl the natural fruit juices increase the sweetness. In order to preserve the purity of the fruit I prefer to keep the sugar to a minimum. I have found though that some sugar preserves the fruit and helps to keep it plump. When the bowl is brimful I scoop enough fruit to fill the Ziploc freezer bags two thirds full and then do it all over again.
When I open up my freezer and see the frozen bags of fruit it makes me happy! We enjoy the peaches mixed in smoothies, fruit salad, slightly thawed in a bowl, or over yogurt or vanilla ice cream. They are also delicious in a pie or crisp or over cereal or oatmeal. The possibilities are endless.
Freezing peaches has been a family tradition for several generations. I fondly remember helping my mom side by side in the kitchen each summer. She would find the sweetest peaches in town, negotiate a fair price, and a few days later, when they were perfectly ripe, we would process and freeze them together. It was a bonding experience that I hope to pass down to my kids and their kids.
I am truly thankful for the Summer's bounty in all its golden goodness.