It’s Fall! That means it is time to freeze some apples! I love capturing the season at its peak by saving fresh produce to use throughout the year. This year, I have been blessed by someone else’s bumper crop of apples.
It is important that you spend some time thinking about how you would like to use your apples throughout the year. There are so many delicious ways to preserve apples, from jams and chutneys, to dried apples chips, and everything in between. But I usually stick with using a few techniques to freeze my harvest. I like to bake, so I want to be able to bake things with my apples, and so it is usually just best to have them frozen in a few different ways. Plus I have more space in my freezer than my pantry.
Once you have your plan for how you want to save your apples, get comfortable and set up a little assembly line. Select the appropriate music, clear some space on the counter, get a good peeler, a cutting board, and a sharp knife.
My favorite ways to freeze apples.
Freeze a pie
Who doesn’t love an apple pie? But they are a bit of work to create, so I like to speed the process along by prepping and freezing the pie filling in advance. These can just be thrown in the oven direct from the freezer! A friend taught me an excellent trick to freeze the apples in a pie tin. That way they can literally just be placed into the pie crust and baked.
Peel, slice, and season your apples for the pie. I usually need about 6 cups of cut apples, some cinnamon, salt, and a bit of flour or cornstarch to thicken. You can of course add sugar, if you want, but I think that the fruit on its own is usually sweet enough.
Then put a 1 gallon freezer bag on top of a pie tin, and fill with your apples. Move things around so that the fruit fills the tin well, and place everything as is in the freezer. When it is frozen, you can remove the pie tin from the freezer and you will end up with a disk of fruit ready to be placed in a pie crust. You can of course make the crust as well and freeze the whole pie. They bake very well from frozen. I am usually just done in the kitchen after cutting and prepping all of my apples.
I like to use applesauce in my baking, mix it with plain yogurt for breakfast, or simply feed it to the kids. It is a great use for apples that may not be very attractive on the outside, or for apples that you are not sure about their texture or sweetness. Pretty much any apple cooks down to some great applesauce.
Making applesauce could not be easier. Just peal and roughly cut the apples and fill your slow cooker. Add cinnamon if you want, or just leave it natural if you plan to use it for baking. Then set it on high and give it a stir once or twice an hour. Eventually the apples will break down into puree on their own. The timing depends on the variety and how concentrated you want your sauce, but I usually let it cook for around 3 hours.
Then portion your apple sauce into mason jars, and allow to cool before you place them in your freezer. A jar of frozen applesauce will be good for about a year, and when you are ready to use it, simply take put it in the fridge to defrost and then eat!
Freeze peeled and sliced apples in 2 cup portions
I have a whole collection of fruit cakes, muffins, pies, and crisps that I love to bake throughout the year. I have found that peeling, cutting, and measuring out 2 cup portions is the easiest way for the to use my frozen fruit.
Sandwich sized baggies hold 2 cups perfectly. Make sure that you label and date them so you don’t grab the wrong item later. Then when you are set to bake just pull out the appropriate number of bags: 6 cups for a pie, 8 cups for a crisp, 2 cups for muffins, etc. This also makes it very easy to mix and match your fruit for things like pies and crisps.
Finally when you are done processing and freezing all of your apples you will be left with a huge pile of peels and cores. You can compost them, or if you are still feeling perky here are some bonus ideas for using leftover apple peels.
Now all you have to do is enjoy your harvest in new and creative ways year-round. If you are looking for more freezer tips, check out this post on using your freezer to reduce your grocery budget.
Do you have any tips or tricks for freezing apples? I would love to hear them!