I’m a Jersey girl…a life long resident of the Garden State. One of things I most love about New Jersey is the abundance of fresh produce available during the spring and summer. While I can go to the local supermarket and fill my shopping cart with tasty produce, I prefer to shop the local farm stands or even better, head to the local farm to pick the produce myself.
For me, peaches are the stars of the summer season. Our family makes two trips to a peach orchard in Southern Jersey where we pick our own peaches. We bring our own baskets and fill them up with gorgeous sweet peaches. All of us pitch in on the picking. The older girlies pick from the middle of the tree while I help Baby Girl pluck the low hanging fruit. When it’s time to go for the peaches in the treetop, the girlies rely on their father to hoist them up high.
The first trip is just for gathering peaches for pies. (The second trip is for peaches we use for canning.) We usually pick between fifty and sixty pounds of peaches and we use each of those golden beauties to prepare the amazing Freezer Peach Pie Filling I’m sharing with you today.
I like to make at least nine fat bags of peach pie filling, so we can enjoy the goodness of peach pie all year round. Yep, even in the middle of the winter. (By the way, nothing chases away the winter doldrums like a pot of chicken and dumplings and a dessert of fresh peach pie.)
When preparing the filling, I prefer to grate whole nutmeg and cinnamon sticks myself. I find that the pre-grated nutmeg and cinnamon most of us are familiar with does not hold up well when frozen. For me, it always gets this weird crystalline consistency. Whole nutmeg and cinnamon sticks can be found in stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods and can easily be grated using one of my favorite tools, the rasp.
Freezer Peach Pie Filling
5 cups peeled, sliced peaches (about 6 peaches)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
½ teaspoon nutmeg (or to taste)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
Pinch of salt
After the peaches are peeled and sliced, drain them to remove the majority of the liquid. Combine the peach slices with cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Place in a gallon-size freezer bag or other freezer safe container. Label and freeze.
To prepare a pie, defrost the filling and place in a pie crust. Top with either an additional crust or a crumb topping. Cover the edges with foil or a pie shield. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the shield and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
If you don’t feel like fussing with crust, use the peach pie filling in this super simple Peach Dump Cake.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.