How to Peel and Slice Peaches
To become a crumble, pie, or peach cobbler, many peaches need to lose their skin. Why? Peach skin may be part of the sensory experience of eating the fresh fruit — warm, fuzzy, juicy. But when you bake it or cook it, peach skin can become tough and less than appealing. So before you make your next peach recipe, you'll want to peel the peaches. Thankfully, peeling peaches is quite easy with these two methods.
How to Choose Peaches for Peeling
First, you want to choose the right peach for peeling. For best results, use freestone peaches. These are the kinds of peaches that easily release their large inner seed, also called the pit or stone.
This is how easy it is to cut open a freestone peach. You just cut along the natural seam and twist the two halves in opposite directions. A freestone peach will pop right open if it's ripe.
On the other hand, clingstone peaches have pits that hold tight to the surrounding peach flesh, making it very difficult to cut and slice them.
Related: Learn all about peaches, including how to buy and store them.
How to Peel Peaches: Two Easy Ways
1. Vegetable Peeler or Paring Knife Method
Use a vegetable peeler or small, sharp paring knife to peel whole, halved, or sliced peaches. In general, it's easier to peel a whole peach and then slice it rather than peel slices of peach — if your peach is very ripe, peeling it after it is sliced could bruise or crush the fruit.
2. Blanch and Shock Method
Blanching and shocking sounds dramatic, but it simply means briefly dipping a whole unpeeled peach in boiling water followed by a chilly dive into icy water. It's the combo of extreme hot followed by extreme cold that causes the skin of the fruit to loosen its grip so the peach practically peels itself.
This works best with perfectly ripe peaches. If you have underripe peaches, it's better to peel them with a knife.
How to Blanch and Shock Peaches for Peeling
Start by blanching and shocking one peach at a time until you get comfortable with the process. After that, you can do several peaches at once.
1. X marks the spot: Cut an x into the base of each peach with a sharp knife. This will help the skin slip off after you blanch and shock the peach.
2. Blanch: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place a peach in the pot, making sure it's fully submerged. Leave it in the boiling water for 30 seconds.
3. Shock: Using a slotted spoon, lift the peach out and immediately place it into a bowl of water and ice. Leave it in the water for about 10 seconds.
4. Skin: Remove the peach from the icy water. Use your fingers or a small, sharp paring knife to remove the skin. Watch out! Skinless peaches can be very slippery, so have a bowl ready to catch them.
5. Pit: Slice the peach in half from end to end, letting your knife run along the shape of the pit. Gently twist the halves apart to free the pit. Use your fingers or a small knife to remove the pit.
How to Slice a Peach
You can slice peeled or unpeeled peaches. The recipe you use will usually specify whether or not to leave the peels on.
Here's how to slice a peach that has already been cut in half. Note that you slide the knife forward to start the cut, then finish by pulling the knife back and through the fruit.
Don't Toss the Peach Peels and Pits
No need to waste the trimmings from peeled peaches when you can eat them instead. Check out this recipe for Peach Peel Jelly from One Ash Homestead. Using peach peels, pits, and pectin, you can actually make a toast-worthy spread. Genius way to reduce food waste!
More: Now that you know how to peel and slice peaches, you can tackle any of these top-rated peach recipes.