How To Blanch and Shock Peaches

This technique separates chefs from the home cooks.

By Kevin R.R. Williams

RECIPE If you enjoy the taste of baked pie, you might visit your local bakery or your local grocer's freezer. With access to fresh seasonal fruit or a desire to make enough pies for a large party, it is more economical and far more impressive to bake pies yourself.

The obstacle for many fruits is the outer skin. Using a potato peeler is time consuming. So people are more likely to bake a frozen pie, even though it may not take much longer to bake one fresh.

Restaurant chefs utilize the blanch and shock method to plow through the task of peeling bushels of peaches. It works well for skinning tomatoes and can be used to brighten vegetables that don't require peeling like carrots and broccoli.

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The good thing about the Internet is that it has just about all the information you need. The bad thing about it is that sometimes the information is incomplete or unreliable. A search on the Web for "blanch and shock peaches" returns many instructions that omit one step or another. Notice in the reference section below that only the last two mention salting the water. In other references, the blanching is long as 5 minutes (which becomes cooking). Some instructions omit scoring or shocking. [1-4]

Blanching and Shocking

Essentially, what you're doing is heating the fruit/vegetable surface and then halting the cooking process in an ice bath.

The salty water on the outside of the food is denser than the water inside the food, so it helps prevent nutrients from leaching out of the food into the water. [4]

  1. Bring water with 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon to a boil in a covered pot large enough to submerge 6-10 peaches.
  2. Rinse fruit and remove stems while water is getting hot.
  3. Score an "x" just through the skin on the end of each peach.
  4. Add ice and cold water to large bowl.
  5. Blanch: Working in batches, add 10 peaches at a time to the boiling salt water. (You can use a basket that fits into the bot of easy removal.) Depending on firmness, the fruit should remain anywhere from 40 seconds to 2 minutes. Shorten time for soft fruit and longer for firm. (Test one to get the timing right.)
  6. Shock: Scoop out fruit with slotted spoon and immediately dunk into ice water.
  7. Remove cooled fruit and peel away skin from "x" or pinch and rub to remove.

After completing all the batches, the fruit can be halved and quartered to remove the pits. If you have an assistant, concentrate on blanching and shocking while your helper does the peeling. Now they are ready for your favorite fruit cake, cobbler or canning recipe. (See sidebar.) By using fresh fruit instead of canned (with fructose), you'll be eating A Bit More Healthy.

Tags: baking, cooking, parboil, vegetarian. Peach photo from About.com. [1]

References
  1. How to Peel Peaches. about.com ^
  2. How to Blanch Peaches. ehow.com ^
  3. How to Blanch and Shock Vegetables. allrecipes.com ^
  4. How to Blanch Foods. reluctantgourmet.com ^
  5. Pie image by Debbi Smirnoff licensed from iStock Photo.


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