Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Peach Season: Easy Peach Pie Filling

Peach season is in full swing and if you are like me (or my SIL's dad who let me steal a load of peaches!) you might be wondering what to do with all of those peaches! I love to preserve as much as I can in the summertime so that we can enjoy some of the summertime freshness throughout the year.
We aren't big peach jam lovers around here but we love fresh peaches, peach cobbler and peach pie! One of my favorite things to make when I have an overabundance of peaches is this easy freezer peach pie filling. 
Here's what you will need: 
Gallon size freezer bags
4 quarts sliced Peaches
3 1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Quick Cook Tapioca
2 tsp. Fruit Fresh
1/2 c. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Salt
I like to write on the bags first thing so that when I am a sticky, peachy mess, ready to bag my filling and be done, my bags are ready to go. I also like to include the cooking info so that I don't have to dig out my recipe when I grab a bag from the freezer, it is already there.
In a big bowl, mix together sugar, Fresh Fruit, tapioca, salt & lemon juice. It will be a thick, sugary ball but the juice from the peaches will liquify it a bit when added.
 The next step is to peel the peaches. The easiest way to peel them is to blanch them. Blanching is super easy. This is my setup...peaches...boiling water bath.

 To blanch the peaches (making the skin easy to remove) you simply put the peaches in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and place them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. The heat from the boiling water will slightly steam under the skin of the peaches and the peels will easily come off.
 Blanching the peaches makes peeling so much easier. I blanch, while The Girl helps me peel. If your peaches aren't peeling, you can put them back in the boiling water for 15 more seconds. It really depends on the ripeness of the peaches as to how easy the peels come off. There were a few dozen I ended up peeling with a peeler instead.
One your peaches are peeled, slice them up and add them to your sugar mixture. Stir them until well coated. You should have a blend of peaches and syrup.
You are almost done! Grab a ziplock bag and scoop the filling into it. I like to do this in a pie pan so that I can see how much pie filling I will need. I normally do about 4 cups of pie filling.

That's it! Now put the ziplock bags in the freezer. You can freeze them in the pie tins or just place them flat in the freezer.

When you are ready to make peach pie, you simply preheat the oven to 425 degrees, pop the frozen pie filling in the pie crust and bake for 1 hour. Delicious and simple peach pie filling all winter long!

We also use the pie filling to make peach cobbler by putting the frozen pie filling in a 9x13 pan and topping it with a crumble. Or we even warm it up on the stove (on medium for about 15 minutes, until thick) and eat it over ice cream. So delicious and so simple. Enjoy!