I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing the fact that organic or at least sustainable peaches are almost impossible to find around NC. The fact is that peaches are very difficult to grow without chemicals if you want them blemish free. Borers are notoriously horrible and consumers want beautiful fruit. All I ask today is that you actually go look into the types of chemicals used on this crop. Like strawberries, this is one fruit I will not eat unless I know it is chemical free.
Last year I was fortunate to have access to some from a private farm at the very last of the crop. This year, not so lucky. But Whole Foods in North Raleigh had some organic peaches from a farm in SC and I picked up a few of the softball quality gems and let them ripen at the house. Kudos to them for going to the effort to find these gems because they are not always beautiful and they are expensive to transport and store correctly!
While not as juicy as last year’s crop that was picked at the perfect time for eating, most of the peaches ripened well enough to save in the freezer for some jam or a smoothie later in the year. A couple ripened really well out of each batch so I had the pleasure of eating them sliced on ice cream.
There are a couple of quick steps for freezing peaches so they retain color and in the process you’ll get enough liquid each time for a small batch of lemonade. Or, you can just make a thicker batch up with the peaches themselves, which is how I’ve written this recipe for you to try.
But first a primer on peach saving from the “Freezer Queen”. Bring a pot of water to boil and gently drop in your ripe peaches. I do about 4-6 at a time so they don’t end up cooking in the process. Pull them out after about a minute and you will be able to gently pull the skins from each of them, leaving you with the delicate and delightful flesh. Just section this off and place the sections in a bowl of about 6-8 cups of water with the juice of 2 lemons. When you are finished slicing all of your peaches, just let them sit in the mixture for a couple of minutes and then place in freezer bags neatly and freeze on cookie sheets. Then stack them in the freezer. This way you can pull off individual slices if you need to and they stack well over time as you fill the freezer.
You might take note that I also dehydrate peaches. While they are not as pretty, they have a really concentrated flavor that is quite yummy as a snack on hikes or re-hydrated into a recipe. And it doesn’t use up your freezer space.
The leftover water will be flavored nicely and you can add some local honey to sweeten it a bit. I found a lighter honey worked well with the peaches. More robust varieties overpowered the delicate flavor of the peach. (Orange County Blend from Just Bee Apiaries worked quite well in this recipe.)
But on to the quick method!
Fresh Peach Lemonade
- 3 peaches, peeled using a hot water bath and sliced
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2-4 tablespoons local honey
- Throw it all into a blender and blend until it’s smooth.
- Serve over ice.