- Food and Cooking
Easy Method for Preserving Fresh Apples
Crisp delicious apples
Look at all these apples!
I live in an area with many apple orchards, and so the price goes way down at the grocery stores and produce stands when apples are in season.
I have friends who have small orchards who let me go out and pick apples since they have far too many for them to eat.
It's economical to put up apples when they're inexpensive.
Preserving apples -- and all their natural goodness -- is really easy to do. Here's how.
Choose the right kind of apples
The best apples for preserving are the one that are super-crisp. My favorites are Rome, Gravenstein, winesap, and Golden Delicious.
Unsure if your apples are the right kind for freezing? All you have to do is peel the apple and set it on the counter. If within 10 minutes it has already begun turning brown, it probably won't be a good preserving apple. Use those kind for making pies and cobblers right now.
For a wonderful apple cobbler recipe, click below. I wrote it for peaches but the directions are exactly the same for apples.
Preparing apples for the freezer
I get everything ready on my countertop -- my largest pan, my peeler, a sharp chopping knife, my lemon zester and a bag of sugar.
Into a really large pan, I put the zest of one whole lemon -- then I cut that lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the pan.
I pour my fresh apples into the sink, turn on the water, and quickly rinse each apple. Don't get too fussy about this since you're going to peel and slice the apples anyway.
After I peel each apple I slice it in half, then into quarters. I cut out the center and make sure I've cut off the stem end. I work quickly so that soon I have about 7 or 8 apples peeled and quartered. Then I wash these under running water.
Turn the apple pieces so the curved portion is on top, and slice into about 3 or 4 slices -- put these into the pan with lemon juice and zest. After I've done a few I'll use my large spoon to fold the slices into the lemon juice and zest. This helps to preserve their color, and adds terrific flavor.
Then I pour sugar on top -- I guesstimate the amount -- but probably about 2/3s of a cup to each three cups of apple slices. Fold the sugar into the sliced apples and lemon (try not to eat too many -- they're so incredibly delicious!)
I'll continue to work like this till my pan is filled about 3/4s full -- then I'll move on to the next steps. I like to get my apples into the freezer in stages. Even the best apples for freezing (the ones slow to brown) WILL brown, given time, and I want them in the freezer while they're beautifully white.
Directions continue after the ebay information below.
Label quart freezer bags (if you cook often for a crowd you can use gallon bags) with the type of apples and the date, then put 3 cups of the prepared apples into the bag. Adjust the size for your needs -- some people want small bags of only 2 cups, others want large bags of 5 - 7 cups.
Press all of the air out of the bag, then press the seal closed. Use your fingers to move the apples inside the bag to all the corners to make a bag as "flat" as possible.
Make a space in your freezer where these bags can lay flat. Once they're frozen you can stack them in a more permanent place. Don't just toss the bags into the freezer! They will freeze in odd shapes which will make them difficult to store (this is the voice of experience!)
The bags of frozen apples will keep for up to one year.
How to Use Frozen Apples
When I'm planning to make an apple pie or cobbler, I will take out a package or two of apples and lay them on the counter to slightly thaw while I make my crust.
Pour the apples into the crust (if you're making a double crust apple pie) or into the pan if you're making a cobbler or crisp, then put on your toppings. It's perfectly fine (even preferable) if the apples are still only partially thawed.
Pop them into an oven preheated to 350 degrees and soon you'll be eating apple desserts that taste EXACTLY the way they did when apples were in season.
That's the best part of freezing apples -- you get that incredible peak-of-the-season flavor all year around!