How Can I Preserve Peaches Without Canning Them?

Fresh peaches are high in vitamin A and low in calories.
Fresh peaches are high in vitamin A and low in calories. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Canning peaches requires expensive equipment and expertise so that the produce does not spoil. Instead of preserving the peaches in canning jars, you can dehydrate or freeze them. Preserving peaches allows you to enjoy the abundant amount of fruit throughout the year so that it does not go to waste. When selecting peaches to store, you need to choose high quality produce because preserving the peaches will not improve the quality.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking pots
  • Bowls
  • Ice water
  • Knife
  • Lemon juice
  • Slotted spoon
  • Dehydrator
  • Glass containers with lids
  • Airtight containers
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • Freezer bags
  • Ladle

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Dehydrate Peaches

Select ripe peaches without bruises or discolorations. Avoid immature and over-mature peaches because they will not taste as flavorful and may have a tough or mushy texture.

Rinse the peaches under running water to remove dirt.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Dip the peaches into the boiling water for 20 seconds and then cool them in a bowl of ice water. Allow them to sit in the ice water for 2 minutes.

Slide the peach skins off. Slice the peaches into even pieces. Keep the slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Discard the peach pits.

Combine an equal amount of lemon juice with cold water. Place the cut peach slices directly into the lemon juice solution for 10 minutes to prevent them from browning. Remove the peach slices with a slotted spoon and drain them well.

Arrange the slices onto drying trays in a single layer. Dry the fruit at 140 degrees. The length of time will vary according to the size of the fruit. Peach slices may take up to 36 hours to dry completely. Turn the peaches over after 3 to 4 hours.

Test the peaches for dryness. Remove two or three peach slices and allow them to cool to room temperature. Squeeze the peaches and if no moisture remains in your hands and they spring back to their original shape, then they are properly dried.

Place the dried fruit into glass containers to condition them. Fill the containers 2/3 of the way full. Cover them lightly and store in a warm and dry area for up to 10 days. Stir the peaches and if you notice moisture in the container, dry the food in the dehydrator longer to prevent spoilage. Condition the peaches again until no moisture remains.

Package the peaches into airtight containers. Label the containers and store in a cool, dark location such as the refrigerator. Store the dried peaches for up to 12 months.

Freeze Peaches

Select ripe and mature peaches. Peaches that feel rock hard or mushy will not have a high quality.

Rinse the peaches under running water to remove dirt.

Prepare the sugar solution to improve the flavor and color. Heat 6 cups of water slowly on the stove top. Add 3 cups of sugar slowly, and stir until it dissolves. Once the sugar dissolves, remove the syrup solution from the heat. Allow it to cool before you pour it over the peaches.

Drop the peaches into a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds. Remove the peaches and dip them into a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Remove the skins from the peaches. The skins will slide off easily.

Slice the peaches into halves or quarters. Remove any brown spots and odd discolorations.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice over the cut peaches. The lemon juice prevents the peaches from browning.

Combine the sliced peaches with the sugar syrup in a large bowl. Mix the peaches into the sugar syrup.

Pour the peaches into freezer bags with a ladle. Remove as much air as possible and label the bags with a date. Leave 1/3 inch of head space in the bags. Cover the fruit completely with liquid or it may become freezer burned. The frozen peaches will last up to 12 months.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dehydrate 12 lbs. of fresh peaches to make 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of dried peaches.
  • Prepare five whole peaches to make around 1 qt. of frozen peaches.
  • Follow the instructions that come with the food dehydrator to use it properly.
  • Discard peaches that show signs of mold or have strange odors to prevent an illness.
  • Always wash peaches before storing them to prevent the risk of an illness.

References

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