Last weekend after discovering via an internet search a place close enough to pick peaches, the family and I went on a peach picking excursion. We came home with 2 pecks of peaches. 1 peck of yellow peach and 1 of white peaches. Knowing that they would only last so long and that I had a three day weekend, I started processing them to freeze, make ice cream and other tasty treats.
If you’ve never processed peaches before, you have to remove the skins if you want to cook with them. Doing this requires a vat of scalding hot water, a giant slotted spoon and a very large bowl of ice water. The peaches go into the scalding hot water for 30-40 seconds until the skin “cracks”, then they are dumped into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Next you remove each peach, take a pairing knife and insert it into the split skin and pull off all the skin. Then you can cut them up to freeze or use. Whatever your pleasure.
The side effect of this process is a whole bunch of peach skins which are typically thrown out. Throwing these away without trying to use them seemed, at best silly, at worst a big waste. My brain immediately went back to watching a Mind of a Chef episode entitled “Garbage”. In it Gabrielle Hamilton talks about how as a chef every time you throw out high quality ingredients you are basically flushing money away due to slim profit margins. She talked a lot about different ways to use the things that most people consider waste – potato peels, tomato skins, expired heavy cream. This led me go searching for something BETTER to do with the peach skins. Et voilà! I found a cool recipe for peach peel jelly.
I put the too ripe peaches which imploded in the skin removal and dicing process into my Ninja blender and pureed them. Most of the resulting mix, I used to make delicious peach ice cream. However, some of it I saved for breakfast strawberry, peach, chard smoothies.
I have about a half a peck of white peaches left stuffed in my fridge and my plan is to process those this weekend. If all goes as planned I’ll have some more skins to repurpose. There are a couple other options besides jelly. I haven’t decided which sound the most appealing but I’m sure all are a better option than pitching the skins.