5 Ways to Preserve Your Apples

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If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, how many doctors are bored because we’re averaging 2-3 per person around here this fall?It's apple season! Preserve the harvest with these five different methods.

My husband went out with friends Friday night. They had pizza, he had an apple. The next day they tailgated; he had grilled chicken and an apple.

My 2-year-old daughter Leah asks for “an apple for the road” daily as we load up to drive big brother Paul to kindergarten, approximately ten minutes after she finishes breakfast. She usually asks for another mid-morning, and another “for the road” when we pick him up at noon. It’s not uncommon to have an afternoon snack of an apple, and if we go for a walk after dinner, guess what she asks for?

5 Ways to Preserve Apples

(Don’t worry, I don’t actually give her one all those times, but it proves a point. We love our apples.)

There are six boxes of apples, four bushels total, in our garage. Although we’re loving the warm weather, I almost (almost!) want it to cool down again so my little dearies will stick around longer.

Once I can get around to it on my to-do list, here are some ways I’m preserving apples to keep them until next summer:

1. Dehydrate apple slices with cinnamon: see how to dehydrate fruit for details on using a food dehydrator. Here is my mom’s great recipe for apple chips in the oven.5 Ways to Preserve Your Apples We dried one apple of each of our first picking, and decided that macintosh make the best dried apples. I forgot to add the cinnamon, but they’re still very good. Our kids vote against the chewy skins, but I prefer to leave them on because (1) it’s easier and (2) they contain fiber.

2. Frozen applesauce: applesauce needs no recipe and no special equipment. Just core some apples, peeled or unpeeled, douse in cinnamon and perhaps a few Tablespoons of water, and cook until soft. You shouldn’t even need a sweetener, especially if you use a variety of apples in one pot.

Without skins, you can even just mix them up with a fork for chunky applesauce, or use a potato masher to get it a bit smoother.

For perfectly smooth sauce, or if you leave the skins on, use a hand blender in the pot or a full sized blender once it cools a bit. Applesauce freezes easily in any kind of container: plastic box, bag, or glass jar. 5 Ways to Preserve Your Apples(How to Freeze in Glass Jars)

3. Canned applesauce: if you’ve got a canner, you can just can the homemade applesauce, processing for 15 minutes for pints or 20 for quarts, half an inch headspace. Check an approved recipe to add some lemon juice or citric acid for safety.

Kate has a fun post over at Keeper of the Home on Making and Canning Applesauce with Kids, and Lindsay included a video in this post covering Easy Canned Applesauce with a Blender. The greatest purpose for canned applesauce at our house is to mix with homemade yogurtI don’t need any sugar that way!

4. Frozen sliced: Raw apples freeze great as long as they’re destined for cooked dishes. You can sprinkle a little lemon juice on the slices to help prevent browning. I like to freeze 4-5 large, peeled Golden Delicious apples that can quickly go into a mid-winter apple pie. Don’t even thaw all the way before mixing and baking.

This is also an easy way to have a super quick dessert of baked apples: just toss some butter, brown sugar or maple syrup, and oats or chopped nuts on top, bake, and enjoy!

5. Applesauce fruit rolls: For those who don’t can, don’t have a food dehydrator, and are running out of freezer space, don’t despair! There’s hope for your multitudinous apples, too. Apple-cinnamon fruit rolls are a perfect toss-em-in-the-bag-and-forget-them sort of snack. They’re a fun piece of my Healthy Snacks to Go eBook (but I’ll share the secret here, too).

Just spread your homemade applesauce, heavy on the cinnamon, in my opinion, onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake at 200-250F until thoroughly dry, usually 1-2 hours. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn. (If you do have a dehydrator, make the rolls on unbleached parchment paper or trays on about 135F for 8-12 hours or until fully dried but not quite crispy.)

My favorite apple recipes:

I’ve also recently tried:

Apple Recipes from around the Blogosphere:

Amy takes the cake – she’s already rounded up all the apple recipes from all over! (And have you seen her pumpkin recipes roundup from last year? Delightful!)

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52 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    I will have to try freezing slices of apple. I never thought you could do that, but DH loves baked sliced apples, so that would be perfect to make a quick side dish for him. Thanks for all the tips!

  2. says

    My mom freezes the apple slices all seasoned in a bag placed in a pie pan. That way she doesn’t even need to thaw – they fit perfectly in the crust. She does the same with crisps destined for a square baking dish. Freeze until solid, remove the bag from the pan, put pan back in cupboard.

    • Elaine says

      That is GENIUS! I am going to do exactly that. Thank you thank you…from a new owner of three apple trees laden with fruit.

  3. says

    I just wanted to report that if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also dehydrate apples in a skillet with a glass lid (put skillet in full sun, outside) or on a cookie sheet/plate on your dashboard (your windshield will work like a solar cooker). That’s what I did before I had a dehydrator – I live in Houston TX and I try not to turn on the oven if the AC is running.

    You could also do a small amount of apple bits by inverting a glass plate over a dark plate and putting in full sun.

    My kids are notorious for *not quite* finishing an apple or all of their apple slices, so I chop up the leftovers into bits to throw into granola, breads, or oatmeal.

  4. says

    You can dry the slices in the oven, about 200. I did this before I got a dehydrator last fall. It works fine. :)

    My kids, too, would eat five million apples a day. Seriously. When we have a lot of apples, they find a way to get into them and there are apples ALL over my house, each with a couple bites taken out of them. After a day or so I wise up and hide them and bring one out to slice for a snack once or twice a day. :) Soon we’ll go apple picking for the THIRD time because my favorite eating apples are Fuji and they are ALMOST ready!!

    Jonathon make good applesauce, as do Golden Delicious. Cortland are just okay. At least for us!

    • Katie says

      No – a friend told me about one last year, but it was 2-3x as expensive as where we pick, and I just couldn’t justify it. We wash them well and take our chances…I figure local is still better than sent all the way across country (and a try to pick the ones as far inside on the tree as possible, hoping they were hit with less spray). Ha!
      :) Katie

  5. says

    We love applesaice over here. I mix 4 varities together to get a sweet sauce that you don’t have to add sugar to. I use golden delicious, empire, mcintosh, and smokehouse. If you can’t find smokehouse, courtlands are similar. Thanks for the tips for dried apple slices, thats next on my list as I have a half bushel of smokehouse left. I also didn’t can 4 quarts of applesauce so I could make some fruit leather. After that its pie filling and then I will be glad its all done so we can enjoy the eating part. :)

  6. CookinMommy says

    When we made applesauce when i was a child, we did not core the apples, just chopped and cooked them and put them through a strainer to get all the seeds and stuff out. I tried both methods to compare recently and my personal preference is for applesauce made that way, I think cooking the core in with it gives more flavor. Coring first is far easier, though, and will probably be our go-to method for small eat-it-now batches that are done frequently.

    • Katie says

      Oh man…I’m totally munching on the cinnamon dried apples, but I should be eating the fresh ones and SAVING the dried ones, you know? They’re just so handy! 😉 Katie

  7. says

    I am so excited to learn that you can freeze apples. I have already made two trips to a local apple orchard. I buy the 2nds and use them for freezer applesauce. I usually mix 5-7 varieties and then I don’t need to add any sugar. Next time I’m going to have to freeze some batches.

  8. Katy via Facebook says

    I just picked 3 5 gallon buckets and only had enough gumption to cut up one bucket full for canned apple sauce. Now I am roasting peppers for roasted red pepper spread.

  9. Brooke says

    Thanks for posting this! I have some apple questions b/c we’re going to be planting some apple trees soon. What type/kind to you recommend? When is the best time to plant them [although it may vary since you probably have seasons where you live ;)]. Any tips you could give me before we buy and plant? THANKS!

    • Katie says

      I wish I knew something about planting trees, but I have zero knowledge there. Apples are so personal too, as far as what people like. ??? I’d plant one of each of like 8 kinds of trees if it were me!
      Good luck!
      :) Katie

    • Sarah says

      Call your local extension office. They are experienced, familiar with local growing seasons, and willing to help the public. If you have a small, local apple orchard, they might be willing to answer a few questions for you – just remember that they are a business, and not necessarily there to educate the public. Best of luck.

  10. says

    Have you ever tried a Foley food mill? With one of them, you don’t have to peel OR core your apples. I just cook them (quartered), then run them through the Foley food mill, skins, cores, seeds, and all. It saves a ton of time, especially when you’re trying to process bushels of apples!

    Truly, I don’t want to sound spammy, but if you want to see what one looks like, you can click on my name above and find one in my shop. They’re pretty easy to find at garage sales, though.

    • Katie says

      How fun that you’re from GR! I’ve heard of those mills…seriously, how awesome! It might have to go on my someday wish list with an ice cream maker…

      :) Katie

  11. says

    I love the Foley food mill for making applesauce, because there’s no need to peel, core, or even to remove seeds. You just cook them up, put them into the food mill, and turn the crank. The first time I saw one used, I could hardly believe it.

  12. says

    Adding a few tablespoons of chicken bone broth to applesauce instead of water is a great way to sneak that superfood in. :) If it’s properly full of gelatin, it gives the sauce a nice texture when cold and it’s great for GAPS!

  13. says

    Came across your blog whilst surfing for apple preservation recipes ~ looks just delightful! My mom usually provides us with all of the apples & grapes we can pick /want, & of course, every year we are inundated with them. I usually put up apple butter ( that stuff goes fast, my hubby eats it by the jar with a big spoon!) juice them, & freeze apples, but this year I wanted to try something different. I love the applesauce suggestion, & believe I will try some apple pie filling as well. A suggestion on ease of prep for canning ~ check out the Nutri-Steamer. I LOVE this product & use it often. It does cost a bit, but in the time & effort saved, it will have paid for itself the first year! No joke. Anyway, thanks for the awesome blog, feel free to stop by mine as well.. I am also quite fond of being a wise steward over God’s bounty.

  14. says

    I’ve dehydrated some and made a lot of applesauce. I can’t keep homemade applesauce in the house – my husband LOVES it! I’m not worried about canning it – it won’t be in the fridge long enough to go bad!
    I add no sweetener of any kind, just apples (skin on and chopped), cinnamon and ground cloves!

  15. MaryLynn via Facebook says

    We have pears, not apples, but not even close to as many as usual, due to the drought. I juiced some, dehydrated some and cut the rest into chunks and cooked them in the crockpot with spices (no sweetener). I can use them for pies, or cook it down into pear butter. I normally can them, but this year am trying them in the freezer to see which way we like them better.

  16. says

    As I post, I have my first batch of applesauce simmering on the stove! That, and the rye bread I baked this morning, will be my supper tonight. A good old-fashioned German peasant meal… I do hope to be able to pick enough to dehydrate as well, but my main harvest will go into the freezer as sauce.

  17. Chantelle via Facebook says

    About a month ago I made peach applesauce. Yummy! I will try to do the mix from now on. I do mine in a food processor with skins on. It’s a chunkier sauce but I love the idea of the skin nutrition being in the sauce. And it’s super easy. :)

  18. Kate via Facebook says

    Apple sauce and apple butter…we get seconds from a farmer friend for super cheap. I bought 2 bushels. I peel mine, though, as they are not organic and it skeeves me out to think about pesticides in my baby’s applesauce, and peeling removes a good portion of them. Organically grown fruit is difficult to find in the midwest, and often prohibitively expensive.

  19. Beth via Facebook says

    Okay. Question. I made applesauce this weekend too. But it burnt!! What kind of pot do you all use and how often do you stir? I borrowed a huge stock pot from my neighbor and loaded it full of peeled, cored, sliced apples and a couple of cups of water. I put on medium, put the lid on and stirred it every so often. The sauce in my pot, which is clad, did not burn, but the sauce in that large nonclad sauce pan did.

  20. says

    Beth, if I’m making it on the stove, i only make small batches (6 qts or less) and I use a heat diffuser on the stove eye. That’s a kind of metal pad you put between the flame and the pot to help prevent scorching. I use mine all the time, it’s great for oatmeal! Most large Walmart-type stockpots are of thin cheap steel, which does not conduct well and is terrible for hot spots. If you’re serious about large scale cooking, go to a restaurant supply store and buy a heavy stockpot. ($50-$100 depending on size)That said, if I’m cooking a lot of fruit, I prefer to use my large slowcooker. It will almost never scorch anything.

  21. Beth via Facebook says

    Thanks Janet! Great info. I don’t usually do such a large amount, but thought I’d try it with apple sauce. Perhaps not. Maybe next time I’ll try my crockpot. I was just trying to knock it all out while the hubby was home.

  22. says

    I’ve been hitting up neighbors who aren’t picking their apples. Yay for free fruit! I’ve canned apple juice, apple slices, and apple sauce. Also planning to do apple butter.

  23. says

    Beth – so sad! I hate wasting food and all that prep time! :( I do turn mine down to low after it boils initially, but I also have a decently thick-bottomed pot, I think. I hardly stir at all.

  24. Scooter says

    How do they make store bought apples last so long in the fridge? The bag usually says some coating like bee’s wax has been applied to help preserve them. Can we get and apply something like this? I like to have a apple on the way to work and have thousands in my yard but only for a few precious weeks.

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