Last weekend and this weekend I went to a U-Pick orchard that’s nearby and picked a ton of peaches. Ok, not a ton, but it seems like it when I’m committed to preserving all of them before they spoil. Last weekend it was about 36 pounds of a white peach variety called Collins White. This weekend it was about 44 lbs of a yellow peach variety called Encore. 80 lbs of peaches! Just what exactly was I thinking!?!?
I have yet to fully determine why, but all peach canning recipes call for peeling the peaches. This goes against my sensibilities since I don’t peel raw peaches when I eat them and my mom always taught me that the most fiber and lots of nutrients was in the skin. Now my husband and I have had the great skin struggle for the last 17.5 years. He likes things peeled; I don’t. Back to the peeled peaches situation. All I have been able to determine is that maybe the skins will make your canned peaches taste bitter, but I’m not even certain this is the real reason for peeling peaches before canning. Nonetheless, I’m peeling these peaches and trying to act like the husband didn’t win the great skin debate…after all, I’m just following a recipe as opposed to doing what he wanted. LOL!
The instructions for easily peeling peaches is all over the place. Cookbooks, canning recipes, the internet, etc. It sounds like a breeze on paper. ON PAPER! It has a definite learning curve. I thought it would be a breeze. After 2 full weekends of working on it, I am starting to get a system.
How to peel a peach (traditional instructions): Drop peach into boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Immediately move it to ice water. Slip peel off.
Sounds easy right?!?!
Eh, I found there was more to it than just that. When it says boiling water they mean a rolling boil. Not a simmer. Not an almost rolling boil. Make sure the WHOLE peach is covered with water. If a little edge is exposed the skin won’t slip off and you will be using a knife for that spot. When they say ice water they don’t mean cold water. It needs to be serious ice water and changed out after every couple of peaches so it stays ice cold. Finally, the peach shouldn’t stay in the ice water until it’s cooled off. It needs to be in there maybe 5 seconds so it’s just cool enough to touch. If you do all these things the right way the skin might even slip off while you’re trying to pick it up out of the ice water. Otherwise, you’re going to be cutting off a lot of skin and losing a lot of flesh in the process.
One extra thing I am doing is cutting the peach in half before I slip the skin off. Having skin on it still makes it easier to grip when cutting. I was having the hardest time cutting them once they were skinless and slippery.