If you've checked out our newest peach jam recipe from Fuller House Kitchen's Recipe Box, then you probably noticed that you're going to have to peel 3.5-4 pounds of peaches before you start whipping up some peachy deliciousness. I know what you're thinking - I made two batches a couple of days ago, and I'd still be peeling those 7.5 pounds this morning if done by hand. Not really, but it would have felt like it for sure.
Before you get discouraged and scrap the thought to preserve at least some of your peaches in jam form this year, listen to this good news: You can peel peaches quickly, effortlessly, and with little to no mess!
How? Ooh, lemme tell you! Have you ever heard of blanching? No? Then here's the hack for you! Just follow these super easy steps:
Bring a large stockpot filled halfway with water to a good boil. In a separate large bowl, or tub, create an ice bath with cold water and ice cubes. If at all possible, try positioning your ice bath as close to your stove as you can. Next to your bath, set up a small bowl for skins, and also a larger bowl for the peeled peaches.
Once your water is boiling, carefully slide 6-8 peaches in one by one, and allow to "cook" for 45-60 seconds. With a slotted spoon, scoop each peach out, and then quickly place into your ice bath to stop the cooking process. Congratulations, you just learned how to blanch peaches! Repeat this step until all of your peaches are blanched.
Next, take a cooled peach, pinch the soft skin near the stem, and pull in a downward motion. Discard the peel, and grab another section; pulling the remaining skin off. They should very easily come off, leaving a slick, completely naked peach within a matter of seconds. Try to peel them all as quickly as you can, since the longer they sit in the bath, the more water they will absorb - but don't fret if you have to step away for a few minutes.
I've read several recommendations to put your peeled peaches in an acidulated bath (cold water + lemon juice) to prevent discoloring while you work, but I will say that wasn't necessary for us. We didn't experience any browning from the time we peeled our peaches, until the time they made it into our jam pot, so I'll leave that step up to you.
Lastly, removing the pits. Initially, I tried using a knife to cut the slippery bare fruit, and quickly abandoned that route; ultimately just using my hands to separate them. With my thumb, I dug deep into the peach flesh near the top, touching the pit, and ran it down around to the other side at the top. With both hands, I was able to grab the halves and gently pull them apart, exposing the pit so it could easily be removed. Voila! Toss the pits in with the skins, the peach halves into the remaining bowl, and repeat until done. All in all, it took probably 45 minutes tops from start to finish to do a peck of peaches - so much quicker and way less messy than peeling by hand with a knife!