STORING PEACHES, BLUEBERRIES & PECANS
Always handle peaches gently - they bruise easily. Look through your box of peaches and remove any that are bruised or soft. Be sure to eat those first. Unlike citrus fruit, peaches continue to ripen after they’re picked. Our peaches are picked with full color and sugar content, but still firm enough to handle without damage. They need a day or two at room temperature to finish ripening and be ready to eat.
Ripen Peaches at Room Temp
DO NOT refrigerate unripe peaches. Instead, spread them out on your countertop and check them regularly until they reach your desired level of ripeness (1 to 3 days). Keep a watchful eye on them.
After Ripening Your Peaches
Refrigerate ripe peaches to extend shelf life but watch for wrinkling around the stem or other signs that peaches are dehydrating – they can dry out and become mealy in the refrigerator. Don’t store whole peaches in plastic bags in your refrigerator, as this can keep them damp and encourage mold growth. Freeze or can peaches for extended storage.
Freezing Peach Slices or Halves
First peel peaches by dipping them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then removing them to an ice bath. The skins should slide off easily. Cut into chunks, slices or halves, removing the pit. Treat cut peaches with lemon juice, citric or ascorbic acid, or Fruit Fresh as directed to prevent browning. Use 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid, 1 teaspoon of citric acid or 3/4 cup lemon juice for each gallon of water.
Lay treated peach slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for several hours or until firm, then place the peaches into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Seal bag and place into freezer.
Place a single layer of treated peach slices in the bottom of your freezer container or bag, then sprinkle with sugar. Layer the remaining peaches, sprinkling with sugar between layers, until you’ve filled the bag, leaving 1 inch of space at the top. Let the peaches sit for about 15 minutes until they are juicy, then seal the container or bag and freeze.
Pack treated peach slices into a freezer container or heavy freezer bag, leaving space at the top for expansion. Use the syrup recipe below, or prepare a simple syrup by heating sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Use 1 to 4 cups of sugar for each 4 cups of water (1 cup for light syrup, 4 cups for heavy syrup). Pour the syrup over the peaches to cover, seal the container or bag and freeze. Allow about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of syrup for every 2 cups of peaches.
Willow Fruit Syrup Recipe
3 cups water
2 cups white sugar
One 6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
Approx. 20 peaches
*It is not necessary to treat peaches to prevent browning when using this recipe.
Freezing Peaches without Sugar
Peaches can be frozen in unsweetened apple juice or white grape juice, or in plain water. Treat cut peaches to prevent browning (see directions above). Artificial sweeteners may be added to the water or juice according to your taste.
Click below for instructions and tips for canning peaches from the National Center for Home Food Preservation (you will be redirected to their website).
Pecans are perishable because of their high oil content, so it’s important to store them properly to keep them fresh. Always store pecans in a tightly sealed container, because they will absorb odors from other foods. Store in a cool, dark place at room temperature for up to three weeks, refrigerate for 9-10 months, or freeze for 18-24 months. Pecans can be frozen and refrozen several times without loss of flavor or texture of you “temper” them by thawing them slowly in the refrigerator.
Inspect your blueberries as soon as you get them home. Immediately remove any soft or bad berries, then refrigerate them promptly and use them within a week. Wash them before eating. Freeze blueberries for longer storage. Rinse them well, dry them, then place them in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze for several hours or until they’re frozen solid. Put the frozen blueberries in a heavy freezer bag and seal well. Blueberries can be thawed or used frozen for recipes.