You know it’s summer when you take that first bite of a ripe, juicy peach. Out-of-season peaches don’t even come close—plus, you usually can’t even find them! Our best advice: Stock up when peaches are in season (usually May to September), then freeze them and stretch the goods into the off-season for delicious peach desserts year-round.
Yes, believe it or not, peaches freeze beautifully. While they won’t ever be quite the same as the fresh, summery peaches you know and love, you can use these frozen alternatives to make cobblers, pie recipes, galettes, no-bake desserts, and other peach-centric creations. Read on to find out how to freeze peaches in a few different ways—and get the scoop on what to do about that pesky, fuzzy skin once frozen.
What is the best way to freeze peaches?
The best way to freeze peaches is by packing them in sugar, syrup, or water. By doing so, you’ll be able to preserve them at peak quality for at least 10 months, if not more. Here’s how to do it.
Step One: Blanch the Peaches
The first step for all three packing methods is to blanch and prep the peaches. Blanching the fruit preserves the peach at its prime while also loosening the skin for easier peeling. To blanch the peaches, score an “X” in the bottom (opposite the stem end) with a paring knife, then plunge the peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peaches, if desired. The skins should come off easily—if they don’t, blanch for a few seconds more.
Step Two: Cut the Peaches
Continue to prep the peaches by cutting them into small pieces and removing the pits. Peach slices or chunks tend to be the most versatile.
Step Three: Pack and Freeze
Once the peaches are ready to be frozen, they’ll need to be packed with sugar or layered in water or syrup. To sugar-pack, sprinkle the peaches lightly with sugar and layer in a freezer-safe container, then cover and let the peaches stand until juicy before freezing. To water- or syrup-pack, transfer the peaches to a freezer-safe container, then fill with water or syrup, leaving about an inch of headspace, before sealing shut and freezing. To make a light syrup, heat one part sugar with four parts water until the sugar dissolves, then let cool.
Can I freeze peaches without blanching?
Yes, you can! Truth be told, blanching is ideal for preserving (and loosening the skin), but if you’re not concerned with long-term storage, you don’t have to blanch—your peaches just may not last as long.
Prep the peaches by cutting them into slices or chunks (with the skin-on, if desired) and remove the pits. (Peaches can be frozen whole, but they’ll need to be thawed in order to remove the pit.) To prevent discoloration from oxidation, toss the peaches with lemon juice or a mix of lemon juice and water; ascorbic acid or some kind of produce protector may also be used. Arrange the peaches on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag. Press out all the air, then seal and store in the freezer. This flash-freezing method (aka “the easiest method ever”) preserves the peaches for about two months before their quality begins to diminish.
Can you freeze peaches with the skin on?
You sure can, but you should only do this if you want to eventually use them with the skin on. Skin-on frozen peaches are great in smoothies and many other baked goods (like this peach galette!), so it’s really just a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that it’s tricky to peel thawed frozen peaches, so if you want to peel them, peel them before freezing.