Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All for a Peach

There is no secret that I LOVE to read. I'm in a book club, after all, and we meet once a month.

About a year ago, one of my fellow members, Greta, picked a book by Sarah Addison Allen. It was called "The Girl who Chased the Moon." It was great, in a quirky, magical kind of way.

A year went past, and I came across a book in our library, by the same author. This one was called, "The Peach Keeper."

It had a little mystery, romance (the author is VERY good at describing romance in all her books), magic, and just a good story. In short, I LOVED it. Everything about it. But also in the book, the author described a character who smelled like peaches. She described him so well, I actually SMELLED the peaches as I read the book, which then got me thinking about and wishing for peaches.

Funny how things like that work!

Needless to say, on my routine grocery run last Wednesday, I drove past the small farmer's stand I drive past every week on my way to the grocery store. They, magically I think, had a peaches for sale sign at their stand.

Now, usually I don't freeze my peaches until August. That's when the Red Haven kind I usually do are ready. BUT, because of the very wet/cold spring we had, all the fruit/veggies are ready later this year. I know I would be back in school full time when they would be ready, and let's face it, after working all day, it's not very fun to come home and can/freeze produce all night. It's just not. SOOOO....I decided to stop at the farmer's stand and check out the peaches.

The aroma coming from them about knocked me over. They smelled and looked so good.

I asked the lady selling them all about the difference between this kind and the kind I usually buy, and she reassured me, these would be just as sweet. SOLD. I brought 1/2 bushel home to try them.

I made up a batch of 9-3cup containers last week and froze them, and then went back yesterday for some more. Cause, let's face it, 9 containers WILL NOT last all winter for my family.

Now that you're all thinking of the sweetness of peaches, remembering the sticky, sweet mess they leave on your hands, and wishing you could bite into one right now, I'll fill you in on the step by step process my good friend Carla (known each other for 20 years kinda friend) taught me.

First, get yourself some sweet good peaches. They must be soft to the touch to be ready to do this. If you feel any hard resistance, they are not quite ripe enough.

You'll also need plenty of sugar, and some peach jello (6oz. for each recipe). I can only find it in 3 oz. boxes, so I get 4 to make two batches if I have alot of peaches (2-3oz. boxes will make 1/2 bushel worth of peaches)

On the stove in a saucepan, put together 6 cups water, 4 cups sugar(or less if you want...doesn't make much difference on taste), and 6oz. peach jello. You'll also need fruit fresh (for later). Warm on med heat.

It will look like this when you've first started.
When it's ready, it will look like this...

Mostly clear, and all the sugar/jello is dissolved.

You'll want to let this cool for awhile. It shouldn't be warm when you put it in the boxes. I've actually put it in the fridge to speed up this step, but it's up to you. Plan ahead for this part. Don't cut your peaches too soon.

So, go away from the stove for awhile, let it cool, do some laundry, sweep, whatever, and when it's getting cooler, start cutting up your peaches.

I use my favorite BIG bowl for this. 1/2 bushel is alot of peaches.

You'll get sticky. So be prepared. This is when you'll need your fruit fresh.
Cut the peaches, put in your bowl, and every so often, sprinkle some fruit fresh on them and stir. This will keep your wonderful peaches from turning brown. Pretty soon your peaches will all be cut. Start putting them in freezer containers. Doesn't matter what size. It's up to you.

I use ones that can easily be stacked in the freezer, so I can use as much freezer space as possible. Don't put your peaches ALL the way to the top, leave about 1/2" head space. Next, fill with the cooled peach jello concoction you made earlier. Make sure most of the peaches have been covered with the juice. Don't fill to the top, you need to leave some room for expansion.

Close, making sure all the air bubbles are out. I just mark mine with masking tape. It works fine, and comes off good, once I take it out of the freezer.

And you're done. Feels good, doesn't it. When you take these out of the freezer, whenever you do, they will taste very fresh. This syrup you made IS NOT heavy at all, it just preserves them well, and keeps them from turning brown.

Don't fear, however, if you do open up a container, and after it's defrosted you have some brown ones on top, it just means, they weren't totally covered by the jello mixture. Discard them, stir up the rest, and savor the fresh taste.

I also use this same recipe, except with strawberry jello, when I freeze my strawberries. The only difference, you do not need to use the fruit fresh with the strawberries. They won't turn brown while you're cutting them.

My next project (probably, unfortunately, the week of the fair....is applesauce!)

(fake, not real, but pretty on my kitchen shelf none the less.)

Happy Freezing!


  1. That book sounds so good, I called my library to request it! Also, thanks for the email about the fruit...

  2. Awesome! I can't wait to try the book, and the peaches! I think that is such a great idea to add the jello mix.

  3. I've been looking for a new book to read and I'm excited about this one! I checked Costco for it today but they didn't have it so I will be heading to Barnes and Noble this morning. I just read a book I LOVED~ couldn't put down~ called Molokai about the leper colony in Hawaii. It was really well written. I read all 368 pages in 4 days... You may want to check it out. I would tell you the author but I've already loaned the book to my friend and I can't remember who it is.


Thanks for commenting...I love reading what you all have to say!