It's wonderful to eat a fresh peach right off the tree, juicy and warm and full of the flavor of summer. However, there are times when you need to slice peaches well ahead of when they are to be eaten, whether to prepare them for freezing or to prepare them for a peach cobbler or shortcake. Once picked, peaches can turn brown after being held for a while after peeling. You can keep peaches from turning brown using one of several household staples.
- Lemon juice
- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
Select ripe, fresh peaches and refrigerate immediately after getting them home.
Peel the peaches over a bowl to catch their juice.
Remove the stone, then either leave halves intact or slice peaches to the desired size.
Sprinkle the peaches with sugar, put the pieces in a colander and drain them over the bowl with the peach juice, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
Mix the peach juice with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of a commercial product called Fruit Fresh. Another method is to crush one tablet of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in a tablespoon of the peach juice, mix it with the remaining juice and toss peaches gently in the liquid. Fruit Fresh is ascorbic acid, an antioxidant, and it prevents the reaction of the peach flesh to the air. If you have no lemon juice or Fruit Fresh on hand, the crushed vitamin works fine.
Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator until time to use the peach slices. Serve as is, or drain slightly for use in cobblers or shortcakes.
If you're planning to freeze the peaches, either submerge in a solution of sugar and water, with 1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid, or drain them after following Steps 1 through 5 above. Then spread them, one layer thick, on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. When they are frozen, put slices into freezer bags and tie tightly. Put the filled bags back in the freezer to store.