I always have to can creative things... I feel like it's a waste of my precious time to bottle something like plain old peaches when I can just purchase them at the store. If I had a tree and had them coming out my ears that would be different. My aunt gave me a box of peaches from her tree, half were cling peaches and half were freestone.
We sliced up the majority of the cling peaches to freeze. We filled up a couple of gallon-sized ziplock bags. When freezing fruit, it's easiest to lay them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet (without them touching each other) and freeze them. Then fill the bags with the frozen fruit. That way they don't stick together and you can grab out just how many you need. We use frozen peaches in smoothies and in freezer jam throughout the winter.
I like to involve Nina when I cook something out of the norm; I think it's good for her to learn new skills, even if she swears she will never can as an adult. This day we had a lesson on peaches.
For easier peeling we dropped the washed peaches in boiling water for a minute.
The skin peels right off. If the skin doesn't peel off easily you can drop them back in the water, but that does start to cook them a bit which may be an issue depending on what you're doing with them. For peach sauce it doesn't matter, so I just tossed them back in their jacuzzi if they didn't peel.
The warm peaches can be sliced if you're doing something pretty with them, but for this I just squished them open with my fingers, pulled out the pit and tossed the skinless peaches in the blender. Nina learned the difference between cling peaches (we had a few that didn't fit on the cookie sheet) and freestone peaches during this process... She also learned to curse the cling ones!
15 c. peach puree (came from an overflowing 26 c. bowl of peaches)
1 c. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
To make the peach puree, just smash up ripe skinless peaches in the blender. Heat your peach puree and sugar in a large pot until hot (takes about 10 minutes). Ladle into sterilized jars and process for 15 minutes. Makes 6 1/2 pints. Eat like applesauce (my kids love it!) or put on pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc. Enjoy!