For those of you in the throws of canning and freezing your garden bounty, or just taking advantage of the cheap produces available through Farmer's Markets, Bountiful Baskets, or friends and neighbors generosity, I stumbled across a handy idea to use when you are blanching your produce.
If you are freezing or canning tomatoes or peaches you need to peel them before preserving them. The easiest way is to submerge them in boiling water for a minute to loosen the skins.
Then plunge them into icy cold water, causing the loosened skins to split. This makes peeling a breeze. This is great in theory, but the water warms up way to fast if you are continually dumping hot fruit into it. I would dump ice into the water to cool it down, but it melts quickly and requires a lot of ice if you have a big project going. The other day I went to grab my bag of ice because I had a some peaches to take care of. Well, somebody (actually several somebodies, who shall remain nameless) had used my bag of crushed ice to cool their beverages! Hitting panic mode I started digging through the freezer looking for an alternative. I noticed my frozen water filled juice jugs! The light bulb went on over my little head! I plopped one of those into the sink before I started adding the hot peaches.
It worked like a charm! It kept the water cold, and when I was done I just popped back in the freezer for next time! I keep several in the freezer for this purpose now. This little tip has worked great when I have been blanching veggies to put in the freezer, too. I guess desperation is the Mother of invention!