William Dickey / Styling Rose Nguyen / Food Styling Mary Allen Perry
Puttin' Up Peas
It is the perfect time to freeze fresh Southern field peas. Whether you lean towards delicate lady creams or heartier black-eyed or crowder peas, head down to your local farmers market to pick up your favorite types. You can even include some snap beans to add a different texture and color to your frozen mix. When choosing peas in the shell, look for pods that are flexible and well-filled with tender seeds.
To prepare for freezing, wash shelled peas, and cook in boiling water (1 gal. per lb. of peas) for 2 minutes. (Cook snap beans 3 minutes.) Drain and immediately plunge into ice water; let stand 2 minutes. Drain well. Transfer peas to airtight containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace, or pack into zip-top plastic freezer bags, squeezing out excess air. Freeze up to 6 months. Use frozen field peas as you would fresh; do not thaw them before using.
Savoring the sun-kissed flavor of juicy peaches all year long is easy--simply freeze them at their peak. Freeze sliced, peeled peaches with or without a sugar syrup, depending on how you plan to serve them. Either way, add lemon juice or commercial powdered fruit preservative such as Fruit-Fresh to protect color and texture. Look for fruit preservatives in the produce or canning sections of your supermarket.
For jams and jellies or cooked dishes, such as pies and cobblers, freeze peaches without sugar, and thaw only partially prior to use. Thaw in the refrigerator about 6 hours or until peach slices can be separated but are still semi-frozen; use immediately.
As sugar syrup further helps retain color and texture, peaches frozen with syrup are the better bet for uncooked applications, such as served over pound cake or ice cream. Thaw syrup-packed peaches in the refrigerator 8 to 10 hours, and plan to use thawed peaches within 1 day.
Unsweetened peaches: Gently toss 4 cups sliced, peeled peaches with 1 Tbsp. powdered fruit preservative or a mixture of 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. water. Pack into a 1-qt. zip-top plastic freezer bag, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Squeeze out excess air, and seal; freeze. Use within 3 to 6 months.
Syrup-packed peaches: Stir together 2 1/2 cups sugar, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or 4 tsp. powdered fruit preservative, and 1 qt. water until sugar dissolves. Pour 1/2 cup sugar syrup into a 1-qt. zip-top plastic freezer bag. Add 4 cups sliced, peeled peaches and additional syrup to cover peaches (about 1 cup), leaving 1 inch of headspace. Squeeze out excess air, and seal; freeze. Use within 8 months.