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How To Freeze Dry Peaches
As children, many of us have an aversion to certain textures of foods that is sometimes hard to get around. Mine was the skin of peaches or apricots. I just didn’t like the idea of eating something that felt like I was eating velvet or valour! But, peeled, I loved peaches and I could always halve an apricot and eat the inside of the fruit and leave the skin. There is nothing better than diced peaches with a little sweetener and ice cream stirred into it, melting away into yummy peaches n’ cream!
Prepped, frozen separately
I just finished freeze drying a bunch of peach slices for my son and daughter in law. They froze them separately on cookie sheets and then placed them into gallon zip lock bags and kept them in a cooler to get them to me. They turned out amazing!
So I decided since peaches were on at the local orchards right now, I better get some while the gettin’ was good! We bought 2 boxes of Elegant Lady peaches, which we were told were good all around peaches (which they are); sweet, freestone and firm. They said they were picked that day.
Be Careful What You Buy
Well, we got home and found that one box was probably picked that day, but the other one definitely was not. (You might opt to pick your own if they offer that). There were about 4 in the bottom of the box that already had that moldy blue fuzz growing! That’s disappointing because they aren’t cheap, but we live too far away to make it worthwhile to return the box. So, I tossed them out and with those that were touching them, I could just scrape away the soft part and they were fine.
I have slipped skins on peaches and canned them for many years, but this is the first time I have frozen slices and freeze dried them. I learned that if you wash them with your hands, rubbing the skins, that the fuzziness comes off and they feel like a nectarine. Problem solved!
What Tools Do We Use For Prep
In this picture you can see my Silicone-Coated Stainless Steel Roll Up Rack that I use to drain fruits, berries and veggies as I prep them for the Freeze Drier. I use this way more than I thought I would and love it! When I’m finished with it, it’s so easy to use a soapy brush to clean, spray rinse, roll it up, bounce it on my sink a few times to remove the water and store it, standing up under my kitchen sink. it’s well made and stands up to my abuse!
If you do choose to slip the skins, that is very easy as well. You just dip the peaches into boiling water (you can use a blancher which comes in handy, because you need to blanch fresh veggies or potatoes before freeze drying them) for about 30 – 40 seconds and then plunge them into cold water and the skins slide right off.
My son and daughter-in-law peeled some and also left some unpeeled. After they were freeze dried, I taste tested and there was hardly any difference, (yeah, even with the skins on!) so I decided that by doing them the fastest, easiest way was best and that is how I was going to do them.
Quick Tip On Peach Preservation
With those that I had to scrape away soft parts from touching the moldy ones, I just sprinkled a little Fruit-Fresh in the bare spot so it didn’t turn brown until I could get it sliced.
Then, slicing down the “seam” of the peach, it parts in half easily to remove the stone or pit. I didn’t worry about the red spiny stuff that grows around the stone, it’s fine. But, be sure to get freestone peaches or you’ll be kicking yourself! The clingstone are a pain to get out! BTW, that is my Chicago knife, made with hard steel. They hold an edge like no other!
Then I sliced them into about 1/2″ thickness on the widest part of the wedge. Peaches this size did better than some that were about 1″ thick that my son did. There were maybe 5 like that and when I broke them in half to test, they were still not done inside, even though the rest seemed to be freeze dried. So, I ran MORE DRY for another 3 hours.
You can’t over freeze dry so I didn’t take the rest of the peaches off the trays. There may have been others that weren’t quite finished.
Setting Them Up On Trays
After that, sprinkle them lightly with Ball Fruit-Fresh Produce Protector which keeps them looking fresh without turning brown, and place them on your HarvestRight silicone lined trays. Sprinkle each one over the tray so they can soak up any extra Fruit Fresh powder that over-shoots it’s mark.
If you haven’t used Fruit-Fresh before, it’s a nice fine powder, basically ascorbic acid (vitamin c) and citric acid. It doesn’t change the taste of the food. I think it actually enhances the flavor. And I had two 20 pound boxes of peaches and I only used a little more than half of a 5 oz. bottle. Sprinkle lightly, but don’t skimp. I’ll have plenty left, along with the extra bottle I purchased to do apple and plum slices when they are on.
As I worked to finish up the 2 boxes of peaches I had, I knew I had limited freezer space. So, I covered my cookie sheet with parchment paper, prepared the peach slices, placed them and used Parchment in between to stack 5 rows. Worked perfectly!
Don’t be afraid to take on peaches–you can see how EASY they really are. AND in freeze drying them, I won’t be afraid of eating the skins (which contain a lot of the nutrition) for fear of feeling velvet on my tongue!
How do I freeze dry peaches?
Many people think it’s next to impossible to do the freeze drying for themselves. This is far from factual. Freeze drying at home is made easy by Harvest Right. They sell three different sizes of freeze-drying machines that do everything in the machine – except prep and package.
That’s up to you.
For all intents and purposes, here at Freeze Drying Mama we use the medium sized freeze dryer. You can check out the sizes offered at Harvest Right here.
What this machine does is first freeze the items on stainless steel trays to -41 degrees or lower. This takes about 10 hours or so.
Then a vacuum pump turns on and creates a vacuum inside the drum. This is the drying stage and will vacillate the heat of the tray up and down to a pretty warm temperature. This makes the frozen items release any water in them in vapor form. The vacuum sucks the moisture to the drum and this collects in ice form on the inner circle of the drum.
Then there’s the final dry which is essentially the same thing, but with a time associated with it and an end in sight!
What settings do I use for freeze drying peaches?
On the Harvest Right freeze drier – this works on all sizes – after putting the trays inside the drum on the shelves, I put in the drum cover and then tighten the handle as I lock it shut. On the computer touch screen, I selected START > NON-LIQUID > NOT FROZEN > CONTINUE. After inputting the settings and making sure my drain tube was closed, I walked away.