Too many peaches
July 14, 2009 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I just bought 25 lbs of peaches. I can, bake, and cook. Help me use them up before they go bad.

Today at the Farmer's Market, I saw a nice looking batch of fresh #2 peaches selling for $10 at 25lbs. On impulse, I bought this massive amount of fruit.

I'm interested in maybe making jam as well as some desserts. Ice creams and frozen yogurts are also fair game. I also have a grill, so any good grilled peach recipes are nice, too. I'm not too particular about what type of recipe I get, I just want to hear a bunch of good recipes, preferably ones that can be put up or frozen.

For the record, I don't drink, so I'm not interested in making infused liquors, although I am not afraid to do a recipe that has liquor in it.
posted by mccarty.tim to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Can you get a dehydrator and dry out some?
posted by spinifex23 at 1:14 PM on July 14, 2009

I like this stonefruit cake, which can be adjusted effortlessly, but doesn't really use up a lot of stonefruit:

1. Beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter until it's light & fluffy, then add in 3/4 cup of sugar, and beat 1 more minute.
2. Beat in 2 large eggs, one at a time.
3. Add in 1 tablespoon or freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp of lemon zest and, if desired, 1 tsp of rosewater, or vanilla extract, or almond extract.
4. Beat in 1 1/4 cup self-rising flour (I, personally, never have self-rising flour on hand, so I mix up 2 cups of AP flour with 2 tsp baking powder & 1 tsp salt and use the left-over 3/4 for quick flat bread).
5. Pour into a well-greased 9 inch springform pan (or a bundt pan) and arrange sliced stonefruits over the top. Uses 5ish fruits, in my experience.
6. Mix some cardamom or some cinnamon with a couple tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle over the top.
7. Cook at 350 for about an hour.
Keeps over night or two days well. Serve with coffee, or with ice cream.

(Quick bread: mix 1 cup AP flour or wheat flour or self-rising flour or a combination thereof with herbs, or salt and pepper, or both, add one cupish of water or water and milk or buttermilk, and a glug of olive oil. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil into a cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet and place in a cold oven. Heat oven to 425. Remove pan, pour batter into pan, sprinkle with coarse salt or pepper or flax seeds or not, cook 30-45 minutes until set and crisp at the edges.)
posted by crush-onastick at 1:14 PM on July 14, 2009

One of my mom's favorite way to deal with the massive amounts of peaches she got every summer was to freeze them. Just peel them and put a little sugar and water in with them and bag them up and stick them in the freezer. That way, she had awesome peaches all year round.

And this site has a bunch of really good peach related recipes.
posted by teleri025 at 1:18 PM on July 14, 2009

Peach cobblers, baby.
posted by heather-b at 1:18 PM on July 14, 2009

Once you've made all your favorite desserts, I'm another fan of freezing some some. Last summer I blanched, peeled, and wedged something like eight pounds. I froze them in a single layer so they wouldn't be in a big block, then transferred them to zippy bags. I liked that I didn't have to thaw the whole big peach chunk, so I could just pull out a few for smoothies and desserts. Having fresh peach cobbler in November just about made my year.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:21 PM on July 14, 2009

When my mum's peach tree gave me 2 bushels, I made peach pie with some and put them in the freezer for midwinter. It was wonderful to have fresh peach pie in February! Just pasty as usual in a deep aluminium pie plate, peaches/sugar, and full pastry top. If you want lattice, add a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot to the peaches to thicken the juice as it bakes. I canned about a bushel - much better than store bought, and made jam from the rest. For cooking, I like pork chops in a pan with a bit of water so they don't stick, peaches and lots of ginger on top. Let the peaches cook down to mush and spoon over when serving.
posted by x46 at 1:23 PM on July 14, 2009

Best answer: Peach salsa; peaches, red onion, cilantro, a little lemon juice and a dash of salt and cumin. You could add a little tomato in there too. Mango would be tasty in that too, though if your objective is to get rid of Das Peaches, the mango would probably just take up space that could be otherwise filled by stonefruit!

N'thing the freezer tactic--nothing quite like making a "fresh" peach cobbler in the winter doldrums.

Many moons ago I remember reading about someone who halved the peaches, removed the pit, and replaced that void with an almond-meal mash, with the sweet-salty taste and texture of the crunchy topping on coffee-cake. Then she sprinkled dark brown sugar on top and caramalized 'em in the oven. YUM.

You can also trying grilling halved peaches--it sounds weird but is sooooooo good.

A trick I use to make sure my fruit doesn't go to waste is to make & can syrup. I use it throughout the year to make vinaigrettes, sauce for game, and of course, pancake/ice cream topping.

If you can dehydrate any, they make great little mix-ins for granola, or for your own instant "gourmet" oatmeal... Make little baggies of instant oatmeal (or old fashioned rolled oats if you have the time to cook) plus dried peaches and a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon. The boiling water you add to the oatmeal will rehydrate the peaches (though their flavor will be concentrated). Add a dash of cream, and voila.

Chow also has a great recipe for Peach Upside-Down Polenta Cake with Peach Syrup.

Have fun!!!
posted by muirne81 at 1:31 PM on July 14, 2009

Response by poster: I'm thinking I might make some jam, since they're still a bit firm and will thus have more natural pectin (I think...). Does anyone have a favorite recipe in particular?
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:33 PM on July 14, 2009

Oh, you have to make some peach ice cream if you can get your hands on an ice cream maker. A search on Tastespotting brings up a ton of amazing-looking recipes. Most delicious thing ever on a hot summer day.

This thread is making me so hungry.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009

mccarty.tim: I usually weigh an equal amount of fruit and sugar, and then add some lemon juice (a couple of tablespoons, usually, depending on the quantity). Yes, this can be a lot of sugar. The lemon juice will give you some pectin, in addition to what's in your fruit.

I let that macerate (fancy word for sit on the counter) for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Then, to cooking. I don't like a crazy thick jam, gloppy and easily spreadable is what I aim for. I cook it down (use a deep pot to help keep splattering to a minimum) until it runs off of my spoon kinda thick-like. Then it goes into sterilized jars which are promptly turned upside down for a while (45 minutes?). I turn them over and make sure the jars ping. I'm sure the FDA doesn't agree, but I'm of the mind that they don't need to be processed b/c of all that sugar. I've never had a problem with mold.

Helen Witty has a ton of books out there and everything she suggests usually blows my socks off. I am at work so I don't have access to my cookbook stash, but I'm sure she'd have something upscale--peach & sage jelly, or something of that ilk.
posted by muirne81 at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

One of my friends (from Georgia, if that counts for anything) also froze peaches to make 'em last. Here was her process:

1. Blanch them in boiling water (just for a moment, to loosen the skin)
2. Peel them & chop them into dice-sized bits
3. Portion them out into ice cube trays (don't pack 'em too tight) and freeze them solid
4. Once they're frozen, take them out of the trays and store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer

This method is AWESOME with a capital AWESOME, because the resulting peach cubes are blendable right out of the freezer (perfect for smoothies) and thaw quickly (perfect for pie). Mmmmm. I think I'm gonna go get some peaches now.
posted by ourobouros at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009

Peach pancake topping. While your pancakes are cooking, heat the following in a saucepan: sliced peaches, brown sugar, and butter. Heat it for a while until the peaches soften and a syrup forms. I have never measured any of the ingredients, but it should be pretty flexible. And delicious.
posted by runningwithscissors at 2:03 PM on July 14, 2009

posted by deezil at 2:11 PM on July 14, 2009

Nthing all on cobblers, pies, jams, chutneys, muffins, smoothies, etc, etc. This might be a good place to start.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:39 PM on July 14, 2009

This Summer Fruit Bruschetta sounds a bit unusual, I know, but has gotten many, many good reviews in my experience. More stone fruit recipes from the same source (full disclosure: I used to work there.).
posted by jocelmeow at 3:26 PM on July 14, 2009

Best answer: Are the peaches fully ripe and juicy? How's your freezer space? Any of the cooked dishes above can me made later at a convenient time using frozen peaches. If the peaches are fully ripe the skins should lift easily from them without the need for blanching. I like to just cut them in half, peel the skins and place the halves on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they're frozen just slide them from the cookie sheet into freezer bags. You can quarter or dice them if you want. If they're fully tree ripe they don't need any additional sugar. Just cut them up and freeze them for later use.

Hale peaches were the variety we farmed in my youth. We preserved them by every imaginable method.
posted by X4ster at 3:53 PM on July 14, 2009

Peach crisp.
Cook Time: 45 minutes
* 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
* 1/4 cup flour
* 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/3 cup butter, softened
* 2/3 cup oatmeal, uncooked
* 6 cups peeled, seeded and sliced apples, pears or peaches

Heat oven to 350 F. Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Spoon fruit into greased baking dish. Top with oat mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until tender.

Keep sliced peaches in freezer. Keep prepared crisp topping in freezer.

Homemade peach ice cream is delish, as is peach salsa.
posted by theora55 at 4:01 PM on July 14, 2009

Grill them. It sounds strange, but they're delicious. Peaches also go well with pork.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 4:10 PM on July 14, 2009

Coincidentally, just this morning I clipped this recipe for a Peach and Praline Semi-Freddo. The picture they used is kind of gross, and the dessert takes a bit of work, but it sounded so damn good.

Also this gingered-peach pavlova looks amazing.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:45 PM on July 14, 2009

Sauce for ice cream: (or I just eat it by itself most of the time)
Melt some butter in a pan, toss in some cubed peaches and cook them in the butter for a few minutes, stirring. Add some water and sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a bit of vanilla extract. Simmer a few more minutes until the peaches are softer, the water/sugar/vanilla form a nice syrup. Serve hot over ice cream.

Since you say you cook, play around with the proportions yourself - I always make it up as I go along. Don't put in too much water or sugar at first, you can always add more as you cook, and the amount of sugar depends on how sweet your peaches are and whether you want super sweet dessert or a more tart sauce to contrast with the ice cream. Add more water as you simmer if the sauce is too solid. So so so good.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 5:27 PM on July 14, 2009

Pattycake – Spiced Peach & Almond Crumble
(made it 3x, fantastic)
posted by avocet at 5:35 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've made lots of peach jam - it's basically 4 C chopped fruit, 3 to 3½C sugar, 2T lemon juice, pectin as needed (I prefer, liquid). Fruit and sugar into a non-reactive pot, bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off foam, add pectin and lemon juice, return to boil for roughly 20 minutes. A pat of butter will also help keep the foam down. I prefer to take a couple ladles worth of the chunkier bits and run them through a food processor and put it back in the mix to get better consistency (more homogeneous, fewer chunks).

Pour into clean, hot canning jars, screw on the lids, and into a water bath (covering the whole jar) for 5-10 minutes. You don't need a canning kettle, you can use a regular stock pot. I sometimes put a tea towel on the bottom of the pot to keep the jars from jiggling around too much.

Depending on pectin and cook time, this may not gel. That's ok - if it fails, you have pancake/ice cream syrup. If you want to preflight it, put a small plate in the fridge when you start and put a dollop of candidate jam on it and put it back in the fridge. If it sets up after a minute or two, you're done.

This is basic jam, but you can jack it up a little bit. Peaches go great with cloves. And about six ground cloves to the mix towards the end. Cinnamon works well too, as does alspice/ Stone fruit goes amazingly well with tart blackberries. Add a half cup of berries to the mix. If you're canning whole fruit, try putting in a half a cinnamon stick or half a vanilla bean or a few whole allspice berries or a few cloves.

I've not tried this, but you could make brandied peaches.

I've made fruit leather (which is stupid easy) from peaches, but it's underwhelming. Apricot works way better than peach.
posted by plinth at 6:05 PM on July 14, 2009

You can also just halve and can them in syrup. Wash, halve, pit & put the peaches in sterilized mason jars, fill with simple syrup (infused with herbs or spices if you like) and then seal and boil for five minutes. I just did apricots this way with lemon verbena syrup and am so looking forward to enjoying them all winter.
posted by judith at 6:11 PM on July 14, 2009

You could dry a heap of them. Then you could make MS BALL'S CHUTNEY, ftw.

/me runs to shop to buy more Ms Ball's.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:28 PM on July 14, 2009

I am working through a batch of peach ice cream now. Out of this world. My wife used the recipe from the simple but excellent "Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book" and I love it.

She also made some raspberry/peach jam last week from the recipe flyer inside the box of pectin or jar lids or whatever, but the peaches weren't ripe enough (and, IMO, didn't use enough peaches!), so it's pretty much just raspberry.

And you can't really have enough fresh, frozen fruits & veggies in the freezer for the winter. Sue, someone will tell you that eating seasonally -- and suffering deprivation the rest of the year -- is more noble or True or something, but I don't share my treats with snobs. (They can eat snow, thankyouverymuch.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:33 AM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mrs. mmascolino had pancakes this morning with peach compote so that's idea for you.
posted by mmascolino at 6:38 PM on July 15, 2009

Response by poster: I don't know how many people are still looking at this thread, but has anyone tried both freezing and canning methods? Which is generally better? We're a bit short on freezer space, so I may end up canning some anyway, but if freezing is better and takes about the same amount of work or less, I'll go for it and try to get at least a few bags in there.

I'm thinking I'll probably go for peach halves frozen in simple sugar syrup (for baking) and/or jarred with a bit of flavoring in the syrup (for eating in salads/on ice cream).
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:00 AM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: I made some jam using the recipe Plinth mentioned in his post (I may have gone too far with the pectin...), and I'm planning on making some peach ice cream from David Liebovitz's Perfect Scoop after seeing all the answers for it. The peaches are mostly a bit firm and ripening in a bag, but hopefully that will change tomorrow or the day after so I can start the freezing/canning. The peaches are clingstone, so they are a bit of a pain to work with, but I've found that a grapefruit spoon does a good job getting the difficult pits out. Plus, I don't mind if the end-products look a little manhandled.

Thanks, everyone, for your help. The laundry basket of fruit looked way smaller at the farm stand, but this now looks like a doable undertaking after all.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:13 AM on July 16, 2009

That was helpful! I just googled "too many peaches" and metafilter to the rescue (again)! I like the freezing instructions. I'm also going to look for drying strategies.
posted by quinoa at 8:05 PM on July 22, 2009

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