Millions of peaches
August 9, 2018 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I impulsively bought 50 lbs of peaches from my CSA planning on learning how to can them. I'm still planning on doing that, but I'd like to use them up in other ways as well (other than just eating them straight-up, which I will be doing plenty of). I'm getting nervous about how many peaches 50 lbs actually is, because as I get closer to pick-up time (tonight!) it seems like more and more, and I am regretting this impulse buy. What are your favorite recipes using fresh peaches, preferably a lot of fresh peaches?

(I know there's a coupla previouslies, but they are from 2012 and before) Small complication: I have little-to-no room in my freezer to freeze and store them.
posted by Fig to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
We just got 20 lbs of seconds from the orchard down the street (and will probably get 20-40 lbs more, as the different varieties come ripe) and what we mostly do with them is dry them. Dried peaches are delicious, and keep quite well. You can do it in an oven if you don't have or want to buy a dehydrator (although gods of the harvest do we get a lot of use out of ours!)
posted by restless_nomad at 9:41 AM on August 9, 2018 [7 favorites]

I just found this one a few days ago, so I can't say I have tried it, but it uses 10 peaches (about 4 1/2 pounds) and serves 8: Renee Erickson’s Peach Cobbler with Hot Sugar Crust
posted by soelo at 9:43 AM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm thinking that at least some of those peaches need to become peach cobblers, yeah. Mmmmmmm.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:44 AM on August 9, 2018 [8 favorites]

Also try grilling some - especially if any are under ripe. Slice in half, remove the pit, brush with oil and grill with the skin side up for 4-5 minutes.
posted by soelo at 9:46 AM on August 9, 2018 [12 favorites]

Peach caprese with goooood mozzarella.
Roasted peaches - cut in half, remove the pit, fill pithole with honey. Roast.
Peach pies and cobblers.
Infuse some with vodka or rum. Add simple syrup and a little club soda.
I am so jealous!
posted by honeybee413 at 9:48 AM on August 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

Peach butter in a slow cooker. Great for overripe ones. Mash them all up & cook long, low & slow in a slow cooker, it will cook down by half. You can hot water can it, but if you have the space it does freeze nicely. Tastes more peachy than peach jam, you can add sugar & spices if you want but you don't really need to.
posted by wwax at 9:48 AM on August 9, 2018 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh! I should mention that my household size is 2. Cobblers, pies are awesome! But there's only 2 of us to eat them. Maybe I should host a peach brunch party ..
posted by Fig at 9:49 AM on August 9, 2018 [6 favorites]

Ferment them! They would be great in a sour beer (maybe check with a local homebrew club and collaborate) or you could try a peach wine. Here is the first recipe I found.
posted by exogenous at 9:50 AM on August 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

Peach Puzzle. It makes its own sauce, upside down. Flip it over after baking, and there's a cup full of sauce. Magic! (It's in the Cook's Country Best Lost Recipes cookbook.)
posted by asperity at 10:03 AM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

I hope you already have canning stuff! In addition to syrup or juice, you can also use different spice blends, bourbon, etc. You can juice them and can the juice. You can puree them and make peach popsicles. You can pit and freeze them for smoothies. You can do great vats of jam and can that, too.

You can pickle them.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

I bet a peach pie would freeze. You could make a rustic/pat-in crust and a mosaic top.

By "mosaic" I mean that you roll out the crust and use either a knife or a cookie cutter to cut it into shapes and just layer those on top of the fruit. I am absolutely terrible at rolling out/putting on top crusts and creating lattices, so I usually do this instead.

Between a pat-in crust and a lattice top, you can make a perfectly tasty pie with no real risk of disaster. I usually just make a coarse pate brisee crust, which I - horrors! - cream together with a fork and finish by kneading a little with clean hands. I've had no complaints and people always finish the pies.
posted by Frowner at 10:13 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been really enjoying this recipe for peach iced tea! Very refreshing in the UK heatwave. Buuuuut it does only use up two peaches at a time, so may not be as useful as the suggestions for pickling, etc.
posted by fanlight at 10:18 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

* pulls up chair and sits down *

My own bulk-canning these days is more for tomatoes, but I have a similar how-to-deal-with-bulk problem, which is fueling the following.

First, to quell the "is this too much" panic - about 2 to 2.25 pounds fit into a quart jar. So you're looking at, like, at most 20 to 25 quart jars. And - you need about a quart-size jar to make a single pie. So if you turned the whole thing into peach pie filling and then ate one pie a week, you'd probably be done by spring. (That's the whole beauty behind canning fruit - so that in the middle of winter you can say "hey, I know, a peach pie! We can pretend it's summer again!")

And that's if you do nothing but turn the lot into canned peach pie filling. Which I guarantee you won't do - because you're gonna want to eat some, and you're gonna find some that are a little bruised, split, or otherwise not really optimum canning quality.

So here's the plan of attack I recommend.

1. When you get the peaches home, sort through them all. Pull out the ones that are bruised in patches and set aside. If there are any that are just smashed and uneatable, throw them out right away. But do NOT throw out the ones that just have one mushy spot or have recently split; we'll be doing something with them in a second. Just set them aside.

2. Pull out about ten or so of the best, ripest ones, ones that you would consider eating out of hand right away immediately. That's exactly what you're going to save them for, is raw eating over the course of the upcoming week. If there are any that aren't-quite-ripe, pull them out too, for ripening-for-future-use. Set those aside for your fruit bowl.

3. That will still leave you with plenty that can be canned, or frozen. Or some canned or some frozen. In fact, let's set aside a couple pounds of the peaches to be frozen right away. There's a good tutorial here.

4. That leaves the peaches that can be canned. And here, there are still a lot of ways to go -
* canning them whole in their own juices
* Canning them whole in a plain sugar syrup
* Canning them whole in a flavored sugar syrup
* making peach pie filling out of them
* combining them with other fruit for a multi-fruit pie filling
* making salsa out of them
* making jam out of them
For each and every one of those things that I listed above, there are a lot of recipes online, with step-by-step directions. Here's one that suggests using honey and spices in the syrup, and is on the Ball Canning web site so it is exhaustive in the how-to-can description. (It even has a suggested use for the resulting canned peaches, which I'm gonna remember myself - throw 'em into muffins!). Here is a recipe for a peach chutney, from a blog I've read devoted to smaller-batch canning. She also has recipes for pickling peaches. I also have a recipe in a cookbook at home for canning peaches in a syrup that includes champagne and raspberries.

I would pick about three or four options for the canning, and then once you see how many peaches you've got left at this stage, make your final decisions for what you're going to do with them based on how many peaches you've got vs. how many peaches each recipe calls for.

5. I haven't forgotten those bruised peaches. For those, what you want to do is cut away the bruised bits, then chop what you've got left. That is going to become your peach jam. There are a gabillion recipes for peach jam; pick your favorite. Peach butter also works for those.

One thing I will say is that you don't necessarily need pectin for jam; Mark Bittman says that with enough sugar and an exact temperature, jam will set on its own without it. The magic formula is: 2 parts fruit to 1 part sugar, bring it up to 220 degrees, and boil for one minute. Works for me every time, to the point that jam is one of the very, very few recipes I improvise with.

(* Important note, though - I would NOT improvise with the canning recipes, especially with anything you're going to can and then have on your shelf. A lot of the food safety from home canning depends GREATLY on the PH level of the food you're canning, and adding an unexpected ingredient can greatly affect the PH level of your product, to the point that trying to home can would be unsafe. If you're going to be canning, follow directions slavishly.)

...that should take care of things. It'll be a day or two's work, but fortunately there will be places to stop and take breaks ("....whew, I'm done with that batch of peach pie filling, but still have 15 pounds left - but fuck it, they can sit on the counter overnight and I'll do the peach pickles tomorrow"). And you will feel like a MAJOR culinary bad-ass.

(My current tomato plan of attack involves 20 pounds of tomatoes, whch get turned into 10 jars of canned crushed tomatoes, about 3 jars of a simple salsa, and 2 or 3 pints of tomato juice. This usually lasts me exactly a year, until the next canning season. My only complaint about the process is that canning tomatoes are far messier than peaches.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:25 AM on August 9, 2018 [85 favorites]

I freeze peaches. Skin them, cut into wedges. And toss into a ziploc bag. Those bags of sunshiney goodness become pies/cobblers through the winter.
posted by Ftsqg at 10:30 AM on August 9, 2018 [7 favorites]

Youre going to need a shit-ton of burrata. . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:35 AM on August 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

Oh, something I forgot you can add to my plan-of-attack above, if you have an ice cream maker:

A one-quart batch of peach sorbet (the most I'd make, and the most that most ice cream makers will hold) will use a couple pounds. there are a ton of recipes; here's one that includes bourbon, and as a bonus, the ice cream maker is actually optional. (Although an ice cream maker is way easier.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:51 AM on August 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

We made this every year with peaches from our tree. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do it old-school.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:55 AM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd freeze any you aren't using... then you can bake with them all year long... fresh hot peach cobbler on a cold night in February awww yeahh
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:01 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

At least a few pounds of bruised fruit should be made into shrub. (A few bay leaves thrown into the mix are really nice.)
posted by neroli at 11:12 AM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you have a friend with a dehydrator, that would be another straightforward way of preserving a bunch for later, without needing a freezer. Overall, though, this is just a "plan to spend a day doing nothing but fruit processing" kind of deal, and if you're really in over your head, bring 10 pounds to work or a friend's house and have them love you.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:16 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, ice cream.

To save space, fill your freezer with peach bits prepped to be dumped into a pie crust. Suck the air out of the bags of pieces to limit freezer burn.

Consider making multiples of a few things and offering them to any friends who have Too Much Whatever of their own: tomatoes, basil (for pesto), apples, &c. You'll be doing each other a favor!

Now's the time to experiment with whole types of food you've never made before: clafoutis and jams and stuff. Go nuts!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:44 AM on August 9, 2018

co-sign that recommendation for burrata - I'd serve it with peaches, arugula, pine nuts or pistachios, and honey - that's dinner right there...
posted by ersatzkat at 11:55 AM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Just in case you get nervous about making jam and canning, let me tell you this story.

I went down to visit my Gram and figured it would be a nice bonding activity for us to make the peach jam together. Just as I was ready to get started and was picking up the box of pectin my gram comes into the kitchen with purse in hand. I asked where she was heading. Bridge. I asked her how I was going to make the jam without her. She pointed to the box of pectin I was holding and said “well you can read, can’t cha?”

And so, I read the instructions on the box and indeed made the jam on my own. And damned if my Gram wasn’t right.
posted by raccoon409 at 12:00 PM on August 9, 2018 [9 favorites]

Freeze some of the superripe ones and store them in ziplocs. Later make HardDayAlkieSmoothies with them. This is the recipe:
Fill blender half full of frozen peaches.
Pour in Goslings 'til you feel a little nervous.
Pour in heavy cream 'til you think it's just ridiculous.
If the peaches weren't dead-ripe sugarbombs when you froze them, maybe add a little simple syrup or agave or whatever you have hanging around.
Grind it all up and throw it in a pint glass and stick in a big bobatea straw (don't get on me about the straws: I got them at BigLots a million years ago before the great straw panic of 2018 and I clean them with a bottle brush and re-use them).
Lie on the couch in front of netflix with nothing challenging happening onscreen, maybe Kimmy or The Good Place, and consume your peach alkiesmoothie.
Repeat as necessary.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:12 PM on August 9, 2018 [14 favorites]

I make peach butter every year. It uses a lot of fruit, it's SUPER easy and no-fuss because I do it in a crockpot. About 10 pounds' worth will fill my slow cooker, any more than that and I've got to cook it down a bit before adding more.

My friends and family pretty much fall over in astonishment with how good it is. Everyone is familiar with apple butter, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't occur to people that you can make fruit butters with nearly any fruit.
posted by desuetude at 12:33 PM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Again with a suggestion which doesnt use a lot of peaches , but peach salsa has been much loved in my household every summer
posted by darsh at 12:53 PM on August 9, 2018

Peach bread pudding.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 1:39 PM on August 9, 2018

Peach butter, salsa, compote, etc are probably the best way to use up large amounts of them quickly, but if you're looking for single dish ideas:

This NYT recipe for brown sugar shortcake with warm bourbon peaches is indescribably good. It's for one big shortcake, but you could also make a bunch of smaller ones if you prefer, and the leftovers make a good breakfast. There's actually no need to warm the peaches; you can just let them macerate with the bourbon and a little bit of sugar, or no sugar at all if you prefer something a little more tart.

Also, roasted/grilled peaches are lovely as a dessert, but they also work well in salads and savory dishes (like peach kebabs with chicken or sausage). And if you have popsicle molds, peach popsicles, with or without cream/yogurt.
posted by karayel at 2:24 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: threadsitting to reiterate the easily overlookable point below the fold - I cannot freeze any, in any form. Will plan better next year, but this year, my freezer is already over-full.
posted by Fig at 2:31 PM on August 9, 2018

Nthing ice-cream, but I'm really commenting to congratulate you on your fantastic purchase. I'm a big fan of peaches and your question made me really happy.
posted by ipsative at 6:50 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

My friends and I enjoyed this recipe for Peach and Pepper Jam. I have more peaches on the horizon so I'll make some regular peach jam soon too!
posted by goodsearch at 8:43 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

threadsitting to reiterate the easily overlookable point below the fold - I cannot freeze any, in any form.

No worries, you have an extra couple pounds for jam/preserves/etc. That's one more quart.

Or turn some into juice.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 AM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have come back in to add - I've just noticed that we're assuming that you have canned before. I've just noticed that you said you were going to be "learning" how to can them, so this is a pep talk -

This is seriously so easy, no joke. If you have the right jars (the canning jars with the double-part lid, with a flat bit and a ring you screw on) and a pot deep enough to submerge the jars with a couple inches of space above, and you can follow directions, you got this.

Canning fruit works for a couple reasons:

1. Fruit is naturally acidic enough to stave off certain bacteria. Heating the fruit to a certain temperature kills off any other bacteria.

2. Then you put the fruit in the jar, put on the lid, and then you actually boil the jar for a specified length of time. The heat from the boiling kills off any remaining bacteria, and also drives the air out through that double-lid - and that is what creates the vacuum seal that prevents any further bacteria getting in.

And that is it. It's as simple as you've gotten bacteria out of the fruit/jam/whatever, and then you create a vacuum seal to keep more bacteria from getting in. The jars and everything are designed to do that if you follow the directions.

"Following Directions" in this case simply means: make sure that you boil the sealed jars for the proper amount of time, make sure that you're using a new flat bit for the lid each time (you should not re-use lids; you can re-use rings, but not the flat bit), make sure you don't fill the jars too full, and make sure that you don't randomly add any other ingredients to the mixture without checking if they're safe to can that way. The first three steps all affect how tight the vacuum seal would form - a new lid ensures that the lid grips on tight and creates a vacuum seal, boiling for the right amount of time also ensures enough of a vacuum, and not over-filling also ensures that the vacuum can be built up strong enough.

Adding things to your mixture could be a problem becuase it could affect the acidity of your food. If you bring the PH level down too far, that kind of boiling-the-jar canning won't be enough to kill bacteria - you would need to use a pressure canner (that's how people do home canning of vegetables, which do not have enough acid for the boil-the-jar kind of canning). So if you're just starting out with canning, it's best to stick to tested recipes and follow them pretty precisely - those recipes have been tested for acidity, so you know you can trust them.

This sounds like a lot, I know - but if you look closely you'll see that it is a whole lot of information arguing that things are going to go right. Mishaps can happen, of course - you're supposed to let your jars cool down for about 12 hours undisturbed after you boil them and then check whether the seals are tight (recipes will tell you how), and once in a blue moon you may find that one or two jars just didn't seal. You can either reheat the contents and try again with a new lid, or do what I do (shrug and stick it in the fridge and say "this is the jar I'm eating right away, I guess"). Once in a very great while a jar may break while you're boiling things; that's happened to me a couple times, and I just throw everything away (I don't have the bravery to try to pick through a pint of jam looking for any teeny-tiny shards of glass before reheating the jam, so I call it a loss).

there are a gabilllllion recipes for canning peaches. Go forth and have fun.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:09 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: BEHOLD! Immortalized peaches! (plus the hot sugar cobbler mentioned upthread, which was really good). I also had some delicious salads and snacks. Out of 50 lbs, I had to toss less than 10 peaches due to spoilage, so I'm considering that a big success.
posted by Fig at 7:48 AM on August 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

* applauds *

Although it's not quite immortal, more like 3 years, I'd say. The color will fade after a year, but the food should still be safe/tasty to eat. (But give things a sniff first, and if anything you've canned seems dicey, just play it safe and throw it out.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

(I am Fig, rebranded) Everything I made last year was great (the peach butter was eaten up very quickly, and I only have 2 jars of canned peach halves left) so I'm going in for another 50 lbs this year.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 11:10 AM on August 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yaay! I make more peach butter each year, because I love handing out jars to friends at any occasion. Ergo, an increasing number of my friends now actively crave my peach butter and ask for it with puppydog eyes. I find this sort of validation awfully seductive. (It's a viscous circle.)
posted by desuetude at 8:17 AM on August 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

« Older Looking for podcasts that look in depth at albums...   |   London temps in-between Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.