No doubt, peach season is one of the most popular fruit seasons. Peaches are an incredibly versatile fruit that can be used in several different ways. However, since peaches are only available to us throughout the months of May till September, some of us just can’t get enough.
The saddest moment of grabbing a peach is when you find out that it has turned brown. We understand, no one would enjoy any fruit that has turned brown – banana, peaches, you name it. So, here is everything you need to know related to how to keep peaches from turning brown.
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Why Do Peaches End Up Turning Brown?
In order to prevent a peach from turning brown, it is important to understand why a peach turns brown in the first place. Just like everything organic, peaches, too, have a shelf life that lasts for a particular amount of time.
Once the end of the shelf life comes nearer and nearer, fruits, such as a peach, can begin to turn brown. The University of California, Davis claims that when fruits, such as peaches, bananas, apples, and avocados are cut, their shelf life tends to shorten drastically, which leads to the browning process beginning quite fast.
So, what is it within a peach that causes the browning process to begin? Well, a fresh peach is known to have a compound called polyphenol oxidases, also known as PPOs. This compound, when exposed to oxygen that exists within the air, begins to activate.
A complex process begins once polyphenol oxidases are exposed to oxygen, leading to the production of brown pigment within the peach. This brown pigment is incredibly reactive and is known as quinones. Since it is incredibly reactive, the oxidization process begins quite quickly, which leads to a fresh ripe peach becoming brown and unappetizing.
However, it is important to note that the peaches that are still attached to the tree bark do not turn brown due to the same complex process since no one has picked them or cut them.
A peach still on the tree can also turn brown and does so due to a brown rot fungus. This fungus causes the bright peach to rot and thus, turn brown. These peaches are known to be infected and are no longer healthy for anyone to ingest.
How To Keep Peaches From Turning Brown
There are several different approaches using which you can keep peaches from turning brown.
1. Anti-Darkening Treatments
First and foremost, if you would like to prevent the browning process from starting, according to the Colorado State University Extension, you can use a type of anti-darkening treatment.
There are several different ways that you can use to implement an anti-darkening treatment apart from using Ascorbic acid mixtures, which are commercially produced anti-darkening treatments; here are some of them.
A. Using Vitamin C
You can find Vitamin C within a pharmacy under the name of Ascorbic acid and can use it as an anti-darkening treatment for peaches. This is a great approach as it allows you to retain not only the color but also the flavor of the peach.
You can find Ascorbic acid in all types of forms, such as powdered form, tablet form, and even crystalline form. You will have to begin by dissolving the Vitamin C within a glass of cold water. You can also use it to freeze your peaches as a way to prevent the browning process.
B. Using Syrup Packs Of Ascorbic Acid
Start by either dissolving half a teaspoon of the crystalline acid form or 1500mgs of Vitamin C in a single quart of cold-temperature syrup. Stir it slowly while avoiding any air bubbles forming. Then place in the refrigerator until needed.
C. Using Sugar Packs
Start by sprinkling a quarter teaspoon of the crystalline acid in a glass that has is one quart of fruit and one-quarter of cold-temperature water. Then add in the sugar pack. Stir gently until the acid is dissolved.
D. Using Unsweetened Packs
Start by dissolving the ascorbic acid, then sprinkle it on top of the fruit. Then, before packing it up, mix it up fully. If you plan on packing the peach within juice or water, then be sure to dissolve the acid within the juice or water. This method is great if you are following a recipe that calls for fresh peaches and you would like to preserve the color.
2. Lemon Juice And Citric Acid
Apart from Ascorbic acid, critic acid and lemon juice are also quite effective although, not as much as Ascorbic acid. You can use either one to treat the peaches before you freeze them. To do this, take a quart of cold water and mix three tablespoons of lemon juice into it.
If not lemon juice, you can choose to use a quarter teaspoon of citric acid in crystalline form. You can then dip the peach into this solution for anywhere between one to two minutes. Then drain the peach and pack with fruit juice, sugar, or water.
A single gallon of lemon juice or citric acid can be used as an anti-darkening solution for one bushel worth of fresh peaches.
Freezing To Keep Peaches from Turning Brown
After peach season comes to an end, you will only be able to find fresh peaches for a few months. However, if you would like to enjoy them for longer, you can use the approach of freezing the fresh peaches. Freezing also helps in preventing the start of the browning process.
A. Preparation Process
Before treating and placing the peaches in the freezer, you will have to prepare the peaches that you have chosen to freeze.
Sort out the best-suited peaches for this process, wash them, remove the pits from each one of them, and then peel them. Once peeled, you can cut the peaches any way you would like, whether it is in two halves, slices, or quarters.
For the ideal and most effective freezing process to prevent the browning process, make sure that the peaches are perfectly ripe and firm. To peel the peaches easier and faster, you can use a combination of boiling water and ice water.
You can do this by dipping some peaches within a pot of boiling water for a total of thirty to sixty seconds, then transferring them immediately to a bowl filled with ice water.
Once the peaches have been prepared, treat the peaches with an anti-darkening solution made of water and Vitamin C. This anti-darkening solution should be made with the ratio of six 500 mg of Vitamin C in tablet form to one gallon of water. This will, at minimum, allow you to treat an entire bushel of peaches.
Then, throw away the water and start sprinkling a half cup of sugar on a single quart of peaches. Then stir without forming air bubbles and leave the peaches for fifteen minutes. At the end of the end fifteen minutes, the peaches will have started to exude juice.
Next, pack the peaches within freezer bags and make sure to leave at least a few inches of space at the top of the bags. Then squeeze all of the air out, seal the bags, and place them in the freezer. If you are unable to find freezer bags, you can also use plastic containers. However, be sure to leave a few inches within the containers as well.
Before using these frozen peaches, leave them out to thaw. The peaches will retain their original color and flavor. The only difference that you will be able to note will be within the texture.
D. Freezing In Syrup
Apart from the method described above, you can also choose to freeze your peaches to prevent the browning process in syrup.
In this case, syrup refers to a syrup mixture made up of water and sugar. Be sure to prepare your syrup and peaches as described above before freezing them beforehand. Once prepared, begin by heating your peaches in a pot of boiling syrup, where the ratio of water to syrup should be 60:40.
Heat them for anywhere between one to two minutes in relation to how large the peaches are. Then drain the peaches. Leave them out to cool, and once completely cooled off, pack them peaches in a mixture of the ascorbic acid mixture and cold syrup.
This is the method to prepare your peaches in syrup before freezing them.
These are all of the approaches and ways that you can use in order to keep your peaches from turning brown. Of course, not every method is going to be the best method for you.
It all depends on what processes you feel most familiar and at ease with, along with how easy it would be to execute all of the steps in a certain process. So, be sure to find the best-suited process of preventing your peaches from turning brown and get started!