Friday, October 08, 2010

Keeping lunches fun and cheap! Peaches glorious peaches!

In an effort to lower our food budget and still get healthy foods into my kids I have been doing a lot of freezing and canning this year. We've grown quite a bit, harvested a lot, and I've gotten pretty lucky finding deals on produce both at farmers markets and local produce from our nearby grocery stores.

Recently I found Organic Maryhill peaches (from Washington State) on a one day special at our local store for only $0.98 a pound! So I bought $10 worth!
But what to do with all of those peaches?? My first idea was to make my own fruit cups for the kids to take for their lunches. So here's how I did that:

First I washed the peaches by soaking them for a few minutes in a veggie/fruit wash and cold water.

Next I gathered all the supplies I would need: muffin tins, muffin papers (heavy waxed ones), honey, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and a large pot of water on to boil.

I lined the tins with the papers:

 Next I set to simmer 2 cups of water, 1 cup of honey, one cup of organic sugar, and 1 cinnamon stick to make a simple syrup.  After the sugar and honey have dissolved turn off the heat and let it cool while doing the next steps.

In order to peel the peaches quickly I used this time honored technique. a.) cut x's in the bottom of all the peaches, b.) drop them in the pot of boiling water, c.) pull them out when the skin of the peach starts to curl up at the x (about 30 seconds), d.) drop into ice water to cool, e.) then the peel will come right off.

Next up chop up the peaches into bite sized chunks and toss with some citric acid, lemon juice, lemon crystals to help keep them from browning. 

Fill up the muffin cups about 2/3rds of the way with the chopped peaches.

Next pour in cooled simple syrup until the fruit in the cup is just covered. This helps prevent freezer burn and keeps the peaches looking pretty! (totally optional, but a nice touch)

After both trays are filled I put them in the freezer stacking them with a cookie sheet inverted over the top of the bottom tray that they didn't nest.
Here's a picture of one of the trays frozen:

Next I used a butter knife between the paper and the tin in order to pop out each of the cups. 

Finally I put the cups in a zip top freezer bag and squeezed out as much of the air as I could, and put the whole thing back in the freezer. 

The peach cups are now ready to go into my kids lunch boxes. The average price for a store bought fruit cup of peaches made with hfcs is about $0.85 each. I used about 4 lbs of peaches (at $0.98/pound) to make 24 cups here, that comes out to around $0.17 per cup!! And they are made with healthier sugars and a much lower amount.


  1. Nice! I love this. did you know you can zip the bag most of the way shut and then suck out the rest of the air using your mouth? That' my favorite was to keep things from freezer burning.

    When are we going to hang out? You're having so much... :)

  2. I know! I miss you chica we do need to hang out! Things are slowing down a bit now that we are getting back in to the routine of school.

  3. I meant to say, "You're having so much fun..." but left out the "fun", obviously. Sorry for any confusion.

    Hmm, let me look at my schedule, I'll call you.

  4. LOL!! I never even noticed that you left the word "fun" out!

    Sounds good. Give me a call whenever!

  5. Thanks for sharing this on our Facebook wall Nichol! I had to take a look at your recipe... Fabulous! This is way brilliant :) I haven't ever seen a recipe/method for a lunch box type fruit cup! The ones you get in the store are so expensive, and you know you're paying so much for the packaging!