A city-dwelling locavore walks into a country store to buy fresh produce and starts eyeing a small box of peaches. The wise farm matron behind the counter says to the city slicker, "I could make you a REAL good deal on some #2 peaches, half a bushel for $18.00." The small box of peaches was going for $10/box and maybe had 10 to 12 peaches inside.
Well, thinking that was a GREAT DEAL, the city slicker asked the farmer, "What are #2 peaches?"
The farmer explained that those are peaches that are ripe and ready to put up, but too ripe to make it to the grocery store shelf. Or, the peach has a soft spot or brown spot and the grocery store won't take them. They're all good to eat; washed and ready, perfect for freezing or baking, but can't go to the chain stores.
To which the eager city dweller replied, "I'll take a whole box!"
Then the wise woman surprised the locavore. She said, "You know you can freeze those peaches WHOLE?"
"Oh yea, Honey, all you have to do is lay'em on a sheet pan and let'em get rock hard in the freezer. Then you bag'em up and keep'em frozen 'til you're ready to use them. Now to peel the skins off, all you have to do is run'em under cold water and the skin pulls right off the peach. Don't let them thaw! Work with them frozen; it's easier to peel and cut them up that way."
"Will do, ma'am. Thank you!" said the city slicker.
So let me tell ya, a half bushel of peaches is A LOT, A LOT, A LOT of peaches. WHAT WAS I THINKING? The box was very deceiving. It didn't look that big, but the number of peaches it could hold was surprising. I quickly ran out of sheet pans and had to rearrange my freezers' shelves to get the peaches all in the freezer just so.
What am going to do with all those peaches? Well, I've been dreaming about that since the ride home from the farm. I'll definitely make peach cobbler; it's our absolute favorite way to eat peaches. I'll make peach bellini drinks, and smoothies for breakfast. And I'll have to try my hand at peach ice cream, most certainly. But first, I couldn't wait to test out the farmer's technique of peeling frozen peaches.
I got out enough peaches to make a batch of peach breakfast smoothies. Ran one peach at a time under cold water, broke the skin and it just came off. EASIER THAN A BANDAID! Whole sides of skin came off in one piece. NO KNIFE NEEDED. Well, except when I needed to cut them up into chunks.
If I hadn't been so fascinated with trying to take off the entire peel at once, I know the process of removing the skins would have been much faster. Like a kid, I was having fun. I went on to cut up the peaches into chunks and hit them with my handy dandy hand blender.
The results left me with a the smoothest frozen delight I didn't expect. The consistency was that of sherbet and it was great eating it all natural.
When I made the breakfast smoothies, I used a 1 to 1 ratio of organic vanilla yogurt and frozen peach puree. Then, added enough milk to make the mix drinkable through a straw. The kiddos slurped them up faster than it took to make them.
Have you ever heard of freezing peaches whole before now?